IT is a very well-known fact that the city of Edinburgh hosts one of the world's leading festivals of the arts every year in August, but it appears to be a fact unknown to ScotRail, because there are always transport problems at this time of year. It tells us that the population of the city doubles for these three weeks, which means that vast numbers of people are travelling into a city known for its parking and congestion problems. It must surely be as obvious to ScotRail as it is to the rest of us that massively more people will wish to use public transport, yet every year glitches ruin a visit to the Festival for many. Indeed, after an experience last year, my next-door neighbour vowed never to return to the festival.

I am a member of the Festival Chorus and live on the other side of the country in Ayr, which means that I use the trains a great deal at this time, and throughout the year (which is why I know the problems all too well). On Wednesday last there were floods in the Linlithgow area, causing the service via Falkirk to be withdrawn. Only the Helensburgh service provided the electric connection between the two cities that evening. We were all crowded into a three-car train in conditions that would have caused intervention by the RSPCA had it been a trainload of animals. Unfortunately, ScotRail cannot use its usual excuse "We have no extra rolling-stock" on this occasion because the EMU 385s normally used on the Glasgow via Falkirk route were all parked at Platform 2 at Haymarket. Someone from traffic management had obviously thought about where they could be accommodated, yet nobody thought of using those sets to relieve the shocking congestion on the Bathgate route. No doubt some kind of excuse will be produced in an attempt at whitewashing this disgraceful situation, but maybe some senior ScotRail management should try riding one of these ridiculously overloaded trains.

Every year we are told that ScotRail runs extra trains at festival time, but I, as a regular traveller at this time of year, have never heard of any, which doesn't mean that none were operated, but it does mean that there has never been enough publicity about those services that the punters could know about them. During the day, there is a quarter-hour frequency and, in the evening, it becomes half-hourly, yet during the festival when the trains in the late evenings are in heavy demand and there are standing passengers on six and seven-coach trains, the quarter-hour frequency is never extended. It doesn't take an expert to deduce that trains from 9pm (or before) until considerably later are going to be excessively busy because performances end in the late evening and the Fringe attracts large crowds as does the Tattoo, causing thousands to need to get home within the same two to three-hour period – and Glasgow is the most likely destination. Maybe ScotRail should try harder – it has have a whole year in which to formulate plans.

James McChesney, Ayr.

SO Abellio ScotRail delivers “an already fantastic service" on our scenic railways ("A wizard idea, but 'scenic trains' fail to make it into the real world", The Herald,

Would this be the same Abellio ScotRail whose third-rate trains are to be converted to gee-whizz tourist trains by the insertion of a third-rate extra carriage carrying bikes and refreshments?

Would this also be the same Abellio ScotRail whose raft of gee-whizz promises five years ago included tourist trains?

And would this be the same Abellio ScotRail whose promises in five years of the rail franchise don’t amount to a row of beans?

Gordon Casely, Crathes, Kincardineshire.