NEARLY 5,000 golf fans have already booked their spots on special rail services heading to Gleneagles for the Ryder Cup.
Sales of tickets for the dedicated train services opened around a fortnight ago to high demand, Transport Scotland said.
The services will make an extra 7,500 spaces available for those heading to the Ryder Cup each day of the tournament.
Transport Minister Keith Brown unveiled the sales figures as he visited Gleneagles station to meet some of the spectators buying train tickets for travel to the 2014 event.
The tournament in September will see the world’s top golfers do battle in the clash between European and America in Perthshire.
Mr Brown said: “Scotland will be propelled to a truly international audience during 2014, with spectators in tens of thousands and audiences in their millions watching the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games, among other events.
“It is only right we offer a worthy welcome to our visitors including an attractive transport network with sufficient capacity. With the ongoing station upgrades announced earlier this year and these extra spaces, spectators can relax in the knowledge we will get them to the event in comfort and on time.
“This latest commitment is part of a wider package of measures we are implementing to improve public transport for events in the Year of Homecoming 2014. Our overall aim is to encourage as many people as possible to minimise their car journeys while providing a lasting legacy that increases future public transport use.”
Mr Brown has also announced a Scottish Government contribution of £1 million towards the new £3.8 million link road aimed at improving safety and access between Gleneagles station and the A9 road.
Project managers Perth and Kinross Council are contributing £1.5 million to the scheme, while a further £1.2 million is coming from the Tayside and Central Scotland transport body, Tactran.
Council leader Ian Miller said: “Perth and Kinross Council has been working for many years to secure the improvement of road access to Gleneagles station, making it safer and opening opportunities for a local transport hub. We’re delighted that the project has come to fruition in time for the Ryder Cup. The new link road is a key project in our legacy programme, ensuring long-term benefits for our residents.”
Work on the road has started and is expected to be completed by June next year.
Gleneagles station is also having a facelift, which will see an overhaul of the station buildings and the installation of new lifts, waiting rooms and toilet facilities.