Rail franchises operators & contracts


ScotRail’s new Hitachi Class 385 trains launched into service on Shotts line

ScotRail has introduced its new Hitachi Class 385 trains onto the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Shotts line, meaning the electric trains are now running on all five routes between the two cities.

Following the completion of Network Rail’s £160m electrification of the Shotts line, the operator said the new electric trains were now able to run along the route and that the first customer service for the line has been launched.

The rolling stock, which Abellio ordered from Hitachi back in 2014, was launched at the end of 2018 to run between Edinburgh and Glasgow and has since been expanded to other routes.

ScotRail said that more than 50 of the Class 385s are now in use on seven different routes, and the operator said it is an important milestone in delivering faster journeys, more seats, and better services for customers.

More electric trains will be added to the line in the coming weeks ahead of the May timetable change and Sunday services, which had been replaced by buses during the engineering works, have now been partly restored.

ScotRail chief operating officer Angus Thom said: “We are delighted to be introducing the first Hitachi Class 385 electric train on the Shotts line and we thank customers for their patience during the improvement works.

“The Class 385 trains have proven to be very popular and this is another important step forward for ScotRail as we provide customers with a vastly improved service, including more seats and improved journey times.”

Network Rail has been finalising the £160m electrification upgrades between Edinburgh and Glasgow to allow for the introduction of the new Hitachi trains, and was completed earlier this month.

The Class 385s are now operating between Glasgow Queen St and Edinburgh via Falkirk High, Falkirk Grahamston and to Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa as well as Glasgow Central to Newton, Edinburgh to North Berwick/Dunbar and on Cathcart Circle.

ScotRail has been under heavy scrutiny in the last year, after being issued with two formal warnings over performance in two months by the Scottish Government, and could face termination if it fails to meet improvement targets.

The train operator unveiled an £18m remedial plan in response, committing to taking on more staff and adding additional high-speed trains, and the government has also recently announced that Abellio has won the East Midlands rail franchise from Stagecoach.


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