Faster, longer, greener trains for passengers in Scotland
Posted: 31 January 2017 | Phil Verster, Managing Director of the ScotRail Alliance & Karen Boswell OBE, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe | No comments yet
With passenger numbers continuing to grow rapidly across Scotland, a fleet of new trains is needed to meet demand. For Global Railway Review, Phil Verster (Managing Director of the ScotRail Alliance) and Karen Boswell OBE (Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe) provide further details of a joint vision to transform rail in Scotland which includes a contract to deliver a fleet of new Class 385s.
Rail travel in Scotland currently totals 93 million passenger journeys each year and is expected to grow further over the next decade. Across Scotland, people are using the railway to work, for leisure, to visit family and friends, and as a means of getting out of their cars.
This is most evident across Scotland’s central belt, spanning Glasgow in the west, Edinburgh to the east and Stirling to the north. The rail line connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh via Falkirk High is the busiest stretch of track in Scotland, with passenger numbers continuing to grow, and a fleet of new trains is needed to meet this demand.
In March 2015 Abellio and Hitachi Rail Europe signed a contract worth £375 million to bring new trains to Scotland. We had a shared vision for rail travel in Scotland; to design and build new trains that will transform the passenger experience across Scotland’s busiest routes. We’re delivering more seats, more space, shorter journey times and improved reliability – and even using virtual reality to design the driver’s cab.
The first of these new Class 385s – from the Hitachi AT200 platform – are scheduled to be introduced into passenger service in autumn 2017 and to be fully in use on the Edinburgh–Falkirk High–Glasgow route by December. All 70 trains are due to be handed over to ScotRail by December 2018.
They are fitted with latest technology and deliver a modern and forward-looking solution to provide much needed additional capacity, while delivering a reliable service that customers can rely on. They are our vision for 21st century rail travel for Scotland.