Long-suffering train passengers have been handed a boost after ScotRail announced it is to introduce more seats on services travelling through Barrhead.

Additional Class 156 trains are to be provided for morning and evening journeys between Barrhead and Glasgow Central, starting in May.

Train services on the route have experienced significant passenger growth in recent years but ScotRail has been slow to catch up, leading to frequent overcrowding on journeys.

More than 1.8 million customers travelled on the Barrhead-Kilmarnock route last year – an increase of 800,000 since track and signalling improvements were completed in 2009.

Transport Scotland has supported the extra seats for customers through additional funding.

This will mean more four-carriage trains, each with 284 seats, to and from Barrhead at peak times.

The extra seats will be introduced once electrification projects across the Central Belt have been completed and ScotRail receives enough of its new Hitachi Class 385 trains.

Work to refurbish the Class 156 trains will take place during 2019.

Scott Prentice, ScotRail’s head of business development, said: “This is a fantastic boost for our customers as the first phase of the larger Scottish Government project to enhance the railway to East Kilbride and Barrhead.

“These routes are showing continual growth and I am delighted that we will be able to make such significant improvements for our customers.”

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s director of rail, added: “We’ve worked closely with ScotRail to secure extended leases of four C156 refurbished trains until the end of the franchise.

“From May, this will enable more four-cars to run on the Barrhead line, allowing more passengers to choose rail travel.

“This is the first step of improvements for this route and is just one example of how we are alleviating over-crowding on our trains.

“As more new trains enter the fleet to free up existing rolling stock, we will be able to roll out similar steps on other routes up and down the country.”