ScotRail and Hitachi Rail celebrate four years of Class 385 services

The Hitachi-built Class 385 fleet for ScotRail has broken records in reliability and carried approximately 34.3 million passengers to their destinations.

Class 385 Trains arriving at Queen Street Station.

Credit: Hitachi Rail

ScotRail and Hitachi Rail have celebrated four years of Class 385 passenger service, which has delivered record reliability and shorter journey times for passengers on Scotland’s Central Belt.  Upon its introduction, ScotRail’s Express train became Scotland’s fastest train and was the UK’s most reliable new fleet for 12 months. It has remained in the top three for UK train availability ever since. Over the past year, the fleet has an average of 52,212 MTIN (meaning Miles per Technical Incident), which is over three times higher than the industry average. In total, the British built train has carried approximately 34.3 million passengers to their destinations. The fleet of 70 trains has racked up 26,557,229 zero-emission miles, which is the equivalent of travelling from Earth to Venus.

Being 100 per cent electric, the Class 385 is already playing a major role in decarbonising Scotland’s railways by 2035. It has reduced CO2 emissions by 72 per cent, a carbon saving of 41,432 tonnes CO2e. This is equivalent of saving the CO2 emissions from over 14,600 return flights between London and Tokyo, or the construction of over 800 homes.

This milestone in passenger service is also a celebration of collaboration between ScotRail, Transport Scotland, Network Rail and Hitachi Rail – ‘Team Scotland’. The commuter fleet was built at Hitachi Rail’s UK factory in County Durham and was part of £1.3 billion investment in new trains and infrastructure funded by the Scottish Government and Network Rail.

“The Scottish Government’s substantial investment in this zero-emission fleet of trains is part of our rolling programme of electrification of Scotland’s Railway,” Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Transport, said. “They connect communities comfortably and sustainably with opportunities for employment, education, and leisure. These highly reliable and efficient trains are popular with passengers, and great for the environment. I would like to thank ScotRail’s delivery partners in Hitachi, including their maintenance staff based at Craigentinny depot near Edinburgh, for the exceptional performance of these trains.”

“The Class 385 is an incredible example of how new trains can deliver faster, greener, and more reliable transport in the UK,” Jim Brewin, Head of UK & Ireland for Hitachi Rail, said. “Improving connectivity and reliability between Glasgow and Edinburgh was achieved through true collaboration between Scottish Government, ScotRail and Hitachi Rail. The ‘Team Scotland’ mind-set continues today, as we explore ways to expand the benefits of the Class 385 across Scotland so we can reach net zero carbon railways by 2035.”

“The Class 385 trains have proven really popular with our customers since their introduction four years ago,” Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, said. “This state-of-the-art electric fleet not only supports our emissions targets, but they’ve enhanced our customers’ experience through better on-train facilities and improved accessibility. The investment that’s been made in recent years, and that will be made in the years to come, will modernise Scotland’s Railway and ensure it is fit for the future.”

The investment in Scotland’s railways also included Hitachi Rail’s £30 million upgrade of 118-year-old Craigentinny Depot and digital upskilling of the workforce. This investment and collaboration has been instrumental in delivering record reliability and the Class 385 receiving the prestigious ‘Fleet Excellence’ award from RAIL Magazine in 2020.

The Class 385 is an excellent example of how Hitachi Rail is working towards a Net Zero society by 2050. Providing rail solutions that reduce CO2 emission through the introduction of 100 per cent electric or battery train technology globally.