ScotRail’s upgrades and improvements for the nation’s commuters continued in earnest at the end of July, as the new Hitachi fleet of Class 385 trains began ferrying customers between Glasgow and Edinburgh, thus beginning the next phase of the franchise’s delivery for Scottish rail travel which is more comfortable, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.
The new electric trains set off on the morning of July 24, ushering in a new era of sleeker and more modern train travel that starts between Scotland’s two largest cities, but that will soon be benefitting other parts of the country. ScotRail has invested £475 million in new rolling stock and it has now begun to come to fruition. The new trains follow on from the electrification of the Glasgow-Edinburgh via Falkirk High line – part of the Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Plan (EGIP) – that Network Rail Scotland has spent £858 million on, all of which combines to be the most significant investment in Scotland’s railways since the Victoria era.
The trains will increase capacity on the route by 44 per cent at its peak, as part of a wider increase across Scotland that will see the whole new fleet providing 100,000 extra seats per weekday once the entire project is complete. The Glasgow to Edinburgh journey time will be cut to 42 minutes (the standard time previously was approximately 52 minutes) providing an economic boost by even more closely linking the nation’s two main financial hubs. They will also be more sustainable and energy efficient than previous trains, further cementing the environmental benefit of ScotRail’s link between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Travelling by train is the most environmentally friendly mode of public transport, and the new fleet compounds that, as the improvements in capacity and reduction in journey time should encourage motorway users to choose the train instead. The trains themselves are brand new. They’re more spacious, cleaner, and will increase the comfort of commuters which will make the train journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh more attractive still.
The continuation of the project will see the stock rolled out to other parts of Central Scotland, which will free up trains to create more services for areas around the country. The economic benefit from EGIP will create infrastructural benefits for other parts of Scotland, which will see upgraded stations at Glasgow Queen Street and Aberdeen. From the new station at Aberdeen there will be reduced journey times and more services to Inverness.
These improvements are already radically altering the railway network in Scotland, for the better. Scotland’s trains will be quicker, more regular, more eco-friendly, and more comfortable to commute on. The benefits will be felt all around the nation, and ScotRail is excited for its customers to experience this new era on Scotland’s railways.