Hogmanay hurrah

The ScotRail Alliance has announced a New Year’s start for its largest-ever train improvement programme.

The aim is to deliver thousands of extra seats, new trains, improved accessibility and enhanced facilities such as at-seat power points and better Wi-Fi.

ScotRail will spend £475 million on the programme over the next seven years. This will see 75 per cent of its train fleet either renewed or fully refurbished. 180 carriages will be added to the fleet – bringing the total to almost 1,000. Two-thirds of ScotRail trains will be refurbished by 2018. Seven Class 320 trains will be introduced early in 2016.

Says ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster, ‘This is the biggest improvement programme in ScotRail’s history…. 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.’

Eversholt Rail is carrying out the refurbishment programme and providing the seven additional Class 320 trains. All 21 of ScotRail’s Class 318s are being fully refurbished inside and out, with new accessible toilets, wheelchair spaces and companion seating.

The first of the 70 new Hitachi electric fleet will start to operate in autumn 2017 on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk High line with the remainder appearing across the Central Belt the following year. In addition, 27 fully refurbished HSTs are being introduced onto inter-city routes during the second half of 2018.

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