Posted 12th March 2015 | 5 Comments

Contract signed for '£1 fleet' for ScotRail

THE contract has been signed for two new fleets of electric trains for the Scottish central belt.

Hitachi is to supply its AT200 units for the Edinburgh-Glasgow electrification as 46 three-car and 24 four-car sets, which will mainly be assembled at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. They will be delivered between 2017 and 2019 for use on the main Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street line. They will also run to Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa when electrification of those routes has been completed.

The lease is unusual, because after 25 years the Scottish Government would be able to buy the fleets for just £1. The deal has been completed as new ScotRail franchisee Abellio prepares to take over from FirstGroup on 1 April. The contract includes a 10-year maintenance deal.

Scottish transport minister Derek McKay said: “With the new ScotRail franchise, a number of impressive infrastructure projects and these slick new trains, we are giving Scotland a railway to be proud of.

“Abellio’s winning bid for the ScotRail franchise included several exciting proposals and I look forward to seeing it all take shape from their takeover of the service in just a few weeks.

“Passengers will love using these new trains with many more seats, but the benefits go far beyond that. The use of electric trains on Scotland’s busiest route will help reduce our carbon footprint. The improved journey times and connection can only be good for our two biggest cities. And the innovative contract has reduced the cost of the finance, as well as guaranteeing a great deal for Scotland in the longer term.

“This is real evidence of Scotland’s railways being fit for the future.”

The first seven trains will be built in Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan, with the remaining 63 coming from Newton Aycliffe.

Abellio chief executive Jeff Hoogesteger said: “This is an important deal for passengers and for Scotland. New trains for Scotland were a key feature in Abellio’s bid for the franchise and we are excited to be pressing the button on the delivery programme.

“The arrival of 24 Hitachi AT200s by Dec 2017 and a further 46 by Dec 2018 will ensure that the full benefits of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme are realised for passengers; delivering faster journey times, greater capacity and higher service quality.

“And the effects of the investment will spread much wider than that. The new trains will be more energy efficient, and innovations in design and lightweight construction will reduce the impact of services on important infrastructure.”

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    @Chris, Portsmouth.
    The bit about displaced trains ending up on heritage lines (i.e. Northern) was merely tongue-in-cheek, as I agree that some of ScotRail's more modern EMUs would indeed be welcome in the North of England. I was merely having a little personal moan that over the years, Northern Rail never seems to be promised any new-build trains - only older units cascaded from elsewhere.

  • David Cook, Broadstone, Dorset

    I really wish FGW could buy all the old HST's for £1, imagine cascading a few onto the Portsmouth-Cardiff route with all that capacity for luggage, needed now so many people use Southampton for cruise liners, many from Bristol and South Wales. That would release a few 158's onto the Weymouth-Gloucester service, some onto the Bristol-Penzance service, and one or two onto the Exeter-Barnstaple line to replace the rubbishy old Pacers, it is hellish going all that distance as a passenger, flip knows what it's like after driving one for a whole shift..........

  • Chris, Portsmouth

    MikeB, the trains displaced will mostly be modern air-conditioned Turbostars which Northern passengers would happily see heading their way.

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    What will happen to the trains displaced by the new AT200 units? Perhaps they might end up on heritage lines - i.e. Northern Rail!

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Boy those Scots are canny a fleet of trains for just £1 ...!