POLICE patrols will be stepped up on rail routes across Glasgow and the west of Scotland in a bid to keep passengers safe during the festive season.

Officers from British Transport Police will be out in force over Christmas and New Year to ensure passengers and rail staff enjoy themselves – but stay safe.

Passengers are being reminded of the late night alcohol ban on trains, which came into force on ScotRail services in July.

The train operator called time on passengers drinking or visibly carrying alcohol between 9pm and 10am.

Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird said: "We want everyone to have an enjoyable time over Christmas and New Year.

"However, we will be working with all our partners to make sure everyone can get to their office party or other event, and home again safely, and equally as importantly, without hindrance from others.

"There are many people who may not use the rail network other than at this time of the year, so make sure you have your travel arrangements in place and particularly know the time of your last train home.

"Also, look out for your friends and colleagues during the evening.

"We don't want to spoil your fun, but please be responsible and remember that rail staff are there to help you, not to be abused in any way."

ScotRail said it has been pleased with the response to the booze ban and will work with BTP to make people aware of it over the festive period.

The ban came in response to concerns from the travelling public about anti-social behaviour on trains.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "We all like to let our hair down a little at this time of year but we should ensure that we do so without putting ourselves or others in positions of potential harm.

"When using the train, that means treating fellow passengers and staff with respect.

"It's a particularly hectic time of year on our trains but if everyone takes heed of these messages, we can all enjoy a safe, pleasant and very happy festive season."

rebecca.gray@ heraldandtimes.co.uk