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ScotRail launches £475m fleet overhaul programme

ScotRail has pledged to either renew or fully refurbish 75% of its fleet within the next three years as part of its largest-ever £475m improvement programme – which will also include new trains and free-wifi.

Announcing the programme today, Scotland’s transport minister, Derek Mackay, and the managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, Phil Verster, said ScotRail would introduce thousands of extra seats, new trains, improved accessibility and better on-board facilities.

Speaking at the unveiling of a newly-refurbished Class 318 train at Milngavie station, they said the operator would add 180 carriages to the fleet, bringing it to almost 1,000.

As well as refurbishing two-thirds of its trains by 2018, ScotRail will phase in seven Class 320s from early next year, add more than 17,000 at-seat power points to trains, and equip another 346 trains with free wi-fi.

Verster, calling it the biggest improvement programme in ScotRail’s history and an extraordinary initiative for Scotland, said: “I know that one of the biggest issues concerning our customers is busy trains. I hope, with the programme we are announcing today, people will see we are taking action.

“Alongside the massive projects we are currently delivering, this programme will bring more seats, shorter journey times and a rail service that is better for our environment.

“Our vision of Connecting Scotland is about using the railway to help our country to grow and prosper. The transformation of our fleet in the next few years will help deliver that.”

Eversholt Rail will carry out the refurbishment programme and provide the seven additional Class 320s. All 21 of the operator’s Class 318s are also being fully refurbished “inside and out”, with accessible toilets, wheelchair spaces and companion seating.

Further enhancements will also see, for the first time, cycle storage, CCTV and free wi-fi.

The first of the 70 new Hitachi electric trains will also start to operate in autumn 2017 on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk High line, with the rest appearing across the Central Belt the following year.

Another 27 refurbished HSTs are also due to be introduced on inter-city routes during the second half of 2018.

Mackay said: “The Scottish government wants to see more people choose to leave their car at home and make use of public transport. That is why we are investing a record £5bn in our rail network, including significant improvements to rolling stock, to ensure that infrastructure keeps pace with demand and that Scotland’s rail passengers are offered the very best value for money.

“When completed, this major train improvement programme will mean that 75% of trains on our railways are either brand new or newly refurbished, meaning all passengers across the network will have access to more modern, comfortable and accessible trains.”

(Top image c. Danny Lawson/PA Images)


Andrew Gwilt   23/12/2015 at 01:26

70 brand new Class 385 AT200 trains will be built for the newly electrified Glasgow-Edinburgh route and other routes that the Class 385's will be operated across Scotland.

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