New ScotRail trains to ease crush on Edinburgh-Glasgow line

Monday, 23rd April 2018, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 23rd April 2018, 5:54 pm
A fleet of stand-in trains will help ease a ScotRail carriage shortage crisis on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line. Picture: Adam Reid

The first of a fleet of stand-in trains has arrived in Scotland to help ease ScotRail’s carriage shortage crisis.

It is due to be among ten electric trains as stop-gaps on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line, where some rush-hour services have lost carriages.

The class 365 train arrived in Glasgow yesterday for testing and driver training.

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The fleet is expected to enter service around June, operating mainly as eight-carriage trains, compared to six on many current services.

It will help ease overcrowding caused by delays to new Hitachi trains, and four others leaving ScotRail because their leases have expired.

However, ScotRail has still to reach formal agreement to lease the trains, previously run by Govia Thameslink.

The Scotsman revealed that ScotRail was forced to cut the number of carriages on some of its busiest Edinburgh-Glasgow trains in March from six carriages to three or four.

It is not known when the Hitachi class 385 fleet will be in use because a new windscreen design is still being devised after drivers said they could not see signals clearly.

ScotRail chief operating officer Angus Thom has told staff: “The class 365 electric trains would boost capacity on the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High route, and would mean more seats for our customers during peak times than there were in December.

“The extra capacity would also mean we are better placed to provide a great service to our customers during major events this summer like The Open and the Edinburgh Festivals.

“The class 365 trains would provide a temporary solution until we have sufficient class 385 trains in service.”

Andrew Stephen, of rail lobby group RailQwest and the Cumbernauld Commuters Association, said: “The Class 365s are perfectly serviceable and comfortable trains – and it is fortunate more than a few four-car sets are available.”

But he said the Hitachi delay had also put back the launch of a new Edinburgh-Glasgow service via Cumbernauld.

The first 365’s four carriages were transported by lorry to the Knorr-Bremse RailServices site in Glasgow because they have not been cleared for running on lines to Scotland. A second is due next weekend.

Transport Scotland said: “We thank passengers for their patience on those routes particularly impacted by capacity issues and assure them these c365s will help alleviate this issue.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “The work we are doing now to secure more trains will mean customers will benefit from more capacity than was previously available.”