All aboard as The Open begins

The land train in St Andrews
The land train in St Andrews

St Andrews is better prepared than ever for the influx of tens of thousands of visitors to The Open - thanks to a partnership between BID St Andrews, The R&A, Police Scotland and the Fife Tourism Partnership.

Three initiatives will ensure visitors receive a warm and informative welcome … both in town and across the golf links.

Through the BID St Andrews Steering Group, a LocalMotion land train is operating in and around the town during the Championship week – from this Saturday until Sunday, July 19.

The land train - the first ever at an Open Championship in St Andrews - will provide transport on routes around the town centre, encouraging spectators to discover all that the home of golf has to offer.

#AskAndrew will see over 100 trained volunteers acting as official Ambassadors for The Open.

The team - branded as #AskAndrew – will invite visitors to ask them any questions relating to the town during their stay.

Inspired by the London Olympics ‘Games Makers’ and Glasgow 2014 ‘Clydesiders’, the #AskAndrew WorldHost qualified ambassadors will be on the links and in the town throughout the Championship.

The idea to train volunteers was born during a conversation at the local business CoffeeNet group, has been taken on by the St Andrews BID group - and could have long lasting benefit for the whole of Fife.

The project obtained a grant through Fife Council after expecting to provide WorldHost training to around 20 people.

Training for the volunteers is being provided by award-winning Lisa Cathro and her training team at Zest Café in St Andrews.

Visitors to St Andrews during The Open are asked to use the #AskAndrew hashtag on social media channels and can engage with the town via StAndrews4You on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

Beyond the train and ambassadors, visitors to the town will be able to identify those businesses that are mad about golf as they will have bedecked window displays with materials provided by The R&A, creating a competition that will be judged by Francis Boag, artist in residence at the Fraser Gallery on South Street.

Ken Dalton, chairman of BID St Andrews, said: “This promises to be the biggest and best Open Championship ever staged – and as businesses in the town, we are keen to work with partners to ensure visitors to St Andrews receive not only a warm welcome but also the ability to engage with the town through social media and the opportunity to travel between the golf and the town on the land train.”

Information on the land train’s route and timings will be shared on social media every day via the BID St Andrews team. There will be peak and off-peak routes and passengers will be able to buy a ‘circuit’ ticket, opting to get off to Train to explore – and board to complete their journey at a later time.