ScotRail begins night-testing Class 385 trains
ScotRail has begun testing one of its new Hitachi-built Class 385 trains on Scotland’s railway network for the first time.
The four-car train, codenamed T2 by the company, is one of a fleet of 70 trains being built by Hitachi Rail Europe intended for use on ScotRail’s new electrified routes between Glasgow to Edinburgh and other routes in the central belt.
The trains are being tested overnight on the Gourock Line in Inverclyde so as not to disrupt ScotRail’s daytime services and will be phased into passenger service from September this year.
Ian McConnell, programmes and transformation director for the ScotRail Alliance, said: “It’s fantastic to have the first of our new trains actually running on Scotland’s railway as this means we are one step closer to making them available to our customers.
“But before we do that, we have to make sure each train is fully tested on the network. That means ensuring that it interacts properly with railway infrastructure such as signals and overhead lines, and that’s what the team is focusing on right now.”
As the test train is not yet equipped with seats, tables or passengers, engineers are using sandbags to represent their weight to carry out tests in realistic conditions.
The Class 385 will soon enter their second phase of testing which will see the new fleet operating on the network alongside ScotRail’s other trains.
ScotRail anticipates that the second phase of testing is likely to begin this spring on two routes from Edinburgh to North Berwick and to Glasgow via Falkirk High.
The new Class 385 trains are being built by Hitachi Rail Europe at its new state of the art facility in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham and previously underwent testing at Hitachi’s Japanese plant and in the Czech Republic last year.
When the trains enter service, it is hoped that they will offer ScotRail passengers more seats, faster journeys and a cleaner travelling experience.
The trains form part of the Scottish government’s £169m investment in modernising and electrifying the Glasgow – Edinburgh route, with electric services due to be introduced on the line in 2019.
Last week it was announced that Alex Hynes, the current managing director of Arriva Rail North, is to take over as managing director for ScotRail Alliance later this year, replacing Phil Verster, who is to become the MD of the new East West Rail project.
(Image c. ScotRail)
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