ScotRail Alliance unveiled the first of its 70 new Class 385 electric trains in Glasgow
Built by Hitachi Rail Europe at their Newton Aycliffe plant in County Durham, this first test train began night testing on Scotland’s rail network in December. These faster, longer, greener trains will come into service from September 2017, with all Edinburgh – Falkirk High – Glasgow journeys operated by the new trains from next December and the whole fleet delivered by 2019.
Based on pioneering Japanese engineering and inspired by the famous ‘Shinkansen’ bullet train, these new Class 385 trains are to offer rail travellers in Scotland a 21st century passenger experience.
These state-of-the-art trains are lighter, because they are built with aluminium and without heavy diesel engines, which means they can accelerate faster and offer the potential for shorter journey times.
ScotRail and Hitachi have made swift progress from signing a contract for the new trains in March 2015, to having the first trains built and testing in August 2016. The test programme started in Velim in the Czech Republic, but now moves to Scotland and will continue to next summer.
Senior representatives from Abellio, the ScotRail Alliance and Hitachi joined Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP to reveal the new four-car train, and to explain the fleet’s pivotal role in transforming the customer experience of rail from next year.
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said that: “Today is a landmark day as we welcome the first Class 385 train to Scotland. We now have a visible symbol of our ongoing massive rail investment, the biggest since Victorian times, one that will become a reality for our customers from next September when passenger services begin. We are delivering more seats, more services and better stations over the next few years, leading a transformation that we can all be very proud of.”
Karen Boswell OBE, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “We are making excellent progress in our programme to deliver this fleet for Scotland. We’re proud that our trains, are built in the UK with Japanese engineering expertise, will offer passengers a vastly improved 21st century travelling experience.”