Cycling fans take to the railways in record numbers for Glasgow World Championships

ScotRail report that 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships helped to deliver busiest period since before pandemic

Clock16:00, Tuesday 15th August 2023
ScotRail have been targeting cyclists for some time

© ScotRail

ScotRail have been targeting cyclists for some time

The environmental impact of cycling has been hotly debated in recent weeks. First, following a study showing that the Tour de France produced 216,388 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, the UCI issued its new ruling that all teams must be carbon neutral by 2030. Then, there was the climate protest at the World Championships in Scotland, during which activists from This Is Rigged glued themselves to the road, halting the race for almost an hour.

Cycling fans will be encouraged to learn, then, that at the very least, cycling spectators seem to be doing their bit. ScotRail have released figures that suggest that thousands of cycling fans travelled to this year’s UCI World Cycling Championships by rail. During the 10 days of the championships, 647,000 more journeys were made compared with the same period last year, leading to ScotRail experiencing its busiest period since 2019.

Alex Hynes, Scotland’s Railway Managing Director, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see how many people have travelled on our services, and we are delighted to have played such an important part in a very busy two weeks for the country.”

To cope with the extra demand, ScotRail have relied on extra services and extra staff to assist customers. This news is a clear contrast to suggestions of the dysfunction of British railways, and an indicator that Brits, and especially cyclists, have a keen appetite for rail travel.

It seems reasonable to suggest that ScotRail’s unique capacity to carry 20 bikes on their trains is linked to the uptake among cycling fans, a feature that puts ScotRail in clear contrast to the rest of the UK – the high-speed Hitachi train used by GWR, for example, has capacity for 800 passengers, and just three bicycles.

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