THE opening of the new Borders Railway has left ScotRail so short of trains it may be forced to hire extra carriages.

Rising demand across the network has seen travellers, both on the Borders line and across the Central Belt network, complain of overcrowding.

The Ayr-Glasgow route and the North Berwick and Dunblane lines into Edinburgh have also been cited as particularly packed.

According to The Scotsman, Dutch firm Abellio has ordered nearly 100 new trains but the first will not arrive for another two years.

Abellio, which took over ScotRail in April, has increased the size of most weekend trains on the Borders line from two to three or four carriages because of “huge demand”.

The ScotRail Alliance, which includes track owner Network Rail, admitted it may struggle to meet passenger demand, which has increased by one third over the last decade.

Managing director Phil Verster said: “Our challenge in the next two years, till we get the new fleets in place, is to firstly move our existing rolling stock around the network and to utilise that as best we can.

“Then, if that still does not meet the overall demand that we see, we will consider whether we need to lease further trains.”

Mr Verster said the new train fleets would make a “huge impact” on crowding, increasing total seats by 30 per cent as well as cutting journey times with their faster acceleration.

He added that the platform at North Berwick station would be extended to accommodate longer trains.

Some 91 million journeys a year are made on ScotRail, although the firm wants to increase that number to 139 million over the next ten years.