Published: 14th February 2016
Passengers can get an advance preview of what future electric trains on order for ScotRail will look like inside.
A mock-up of part of a Hitachi Class 385 electric train interior has gone on show near platform two at Edinburgh Waverley station, where it will be available seven days a week for public inspection until Friday 4 March.
First Class and Standard Class seats and tables are included in the full-size display. Customer-service staff are on hand to help the public who turn up for a look.
The First Class seats have a leather appearance while the covering on the Standard Class seating incorporates ScotRail symbols against a blue background.
Three-pin plug sockets for charging laptops and mobile phones are incorporated in the ends of part of the seat framing, adjacent to the knees of seated passengers. There is one plug point for each adjacent pair of Standard seats and one for each seat in First Class.
The new trains will go into service between 2017 and 2019 on newly electrified routes across central Scotland, the most important of which is the line between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street through Falkirk High. Trains of up to eight carriages are due to run on this route from December 2018. The current diesel Class 170 units offer a maximum of six carriages per train.
ScotRail says that other lines to benefit will include Glasgow and Edinburgh to Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa, Edinburgh/North Berwick, Edinburgh/Glasgow Central via Shotts and routes between Glasgow Central and destinations including Neilston and Newton.
Hitachi Rail has started construction of the first of the 70 trains in a £370 million deal that will allow the Scottish Government to purchase the entire fleet after 25 years for just £1. Electrification work is currently under way on several sections of routes used by ScotRail, with more to follow.
Derek Mackay MSP, Scotland’s Minister for transport, unveiled the mock-up on 10 February. He said that the new 100mph trains would be custom-made for use in Scotland. They would be “larger, faster and greener” and allow passengers to travel in more comfort than before.
“They will enable ScotRail to deliver its franchise contractual commitments to significantly increase capacity on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow route by providing much more seating on peak services from late 2017,” Mr Mackay said.
Phil Verster, the managing director of the ScotRail Alliance linking Abellio and Network Rail Scotland, said: “In just a few weeks our engineers will start work at Queen Street station that will allow us to run these amazing new trains. We are doing everything we can to give people the information they need to keep moving while we complete this work. I know that when people see this model of their new train, they will understand the huge benefits that are heading their way.”
Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, and Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, both welcomed the unveiling.
Karen Boswell said: “Hitachi is proud to have such an important role in a long-term partnership with ScotRail and Transport Scotland in boosting rail services in Scotland, and we are equally delighted that the Class 385s will be made at our new manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, boosting jobs in the North East of England and the wider UK supply chain.”
Dominic Booth commented: “This train will be truly transformational for customers and proudly positions Scotland’s transport at the apex of transport initiatives in the UK.”
Mr Booth added that he was particularly pleased that the procurement teams at Abellio, the operators of the ScotRail franchise, and Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government’s transport agency, had negotiated “such a great deal with Hitachi which is underpinned by some of the finest engineering in the world”.
The first of ScotRail’s 70 new electric trains from Hitachi are under construction in Japan. Almost all of the trains will actually come from Hitachi’s new plant at Newton Aycliffe in the North East of England.
The contract between Hitachi and Abellio ScotRail includes a ten-year maintenance deal involving servicing of trains at Craigentinny in Edinburgh.
The Class 385 trains are to be phased in gradually with the first in passenger service towards the end of next year. A total of 24 trains are due to be in service by December 2017 on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line. The remaining 46 trains are to be delivered by December 2018 but some may not enter passenger service until electrification works on other routes have been completed during 2019.
The new trains will be compliant with the latest regulations on the technical specification for interoperability for passengers with reduced mobility.
The 234 vehicles will be made up in three-car or four-car units, 24 of 4-car and 46 of 3-car. For public use, trains will be three, four, six, seven or eight carriages. A 4-car train will have 273 seats and a 3-car unit 206 seats. In each case, totals include 16 tip-up seats.
A 4-car unit will have 20 First Class seats but there will be none in 3-car units.
A new system will count the numbers of passengers entering and leaving each train. Screen displays at stations and apps on passengers’ phones will advise people where best to join a train to get a seat.
Every carriage will have through gangways to adjacent vehicles making finding a seat at peak times easier than now as many trains do not have connections between them.
Readers have until March 10 to visit Edinburgh Waverley to see the mock-up. Edinburgh is served by Scotrail, Virgin Trains, Transpennine and Cross Country trains.