New electric train ready for North Berwick route

ScotRail will take another step forward in delivering faster journeys, more seats, and better services for customers with the introduction of a brand new Hitachi class 385 electric train to its North Berwick route.

Passengers travelling between North Berwick and Edinburgh will be able to experience the new six-carriage train from Monday, 10 September, as ScotRail continues its commitment to building the best railway Scotland has ever had.

17/07/18 – 18071706 – SCOTRAIL
MILLERHILL DEPOT – MUSSELBURGH
The new Class 385 trains are pictured at the Millerhill depot

This is the third of the new Hitachi trains to be introduced, with two of the new fleet already operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High.

The trains are part of ScotRail’s £475 million rolling stock investment, following the £858 million electrification of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow by Network Rail.

Customers using the North Berwick route will now be able to use the class 385 train on as many as 15 services throughout the week, with a further 12 on Saturdays.

It’s the latest in a range of improvements to services in East Lothian, with many of the trains on the route already operating with six carriages, and the majority of peak-time trains expected to run with this increased capacity by the end of the year. Further class 385 trains are due to be introduced on the North Berwick line before the end of the year.

ScotRail’s Chief Operating Officer Angus Thom said:

“I am delighted that we are able to introduce another brand new Hitachi class 385 train, this time to the North Berwick route. We know that our customers will really notice the difference from Monday.

“This is another step forward for ScotRail as we continue our commitment to building the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“The introduction of these trains will benefit customers all across the country, as they will allow us to move existing trains on this route out across the network. This will help us to deliver faster journeys, more seats, and better services for our customers.”

Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail Bill Reeve said:

“This latest introduction of the class 385 fleet brings the benefits of our new electric trains to North Berwick and Dunbar services and is just the start of delivering more seats across peak services and improved facilities to passengers along this route.

“This is all part of an ongoing Scottish Government commitment to ensuring Scotland’s railways are a popular choice and demonstrates the real benefits of our extensive programme of electrification. Work continues to deliver the remainder of the fleet which, once in service, will increase overall seating capacity by more than 23% across the Scottish network.” 

SCOTRAIL ALLIANCE PUBLISHES DETAILS OF PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN

  • Series of action plans to improve performance – including Golden Trains, Fleet Upgrades and Asset Improvement Programme
  • Performance has fallen 0.7% below expected levels in recent months to just under 90%
  • Publication comes as ScotRail Alliance steps up its ‘Ready for Autumn’ campaign

The ScotRail Alliance has published details on how they will improve train service performance.

The Performance Improvement Plan (click to open pdf) sets out actions that are being put in place to improve the reliability of trains and to ensure that the train infrastructure – including points, tracks and signals – is operating to its optimum efficiency.

The plan also covers improvements to the way train services are operated – including the identification, monitoring and protecting of ‘Golden Trains’. These are the services that, if delayed, have the biggest impact on the rest of the rest of the rail network.

The publication comes as the ScotRail Alliance steps up its work to prepare for Autumn – traditionally one of the most difficult periods for train operators across the UK – by rolling out its fleet of specialist trains to clean the tracks of falling vegetation.

Key points from the Performance Improvement Plan:

  • An £8m Asset Improvement Programme to replace or enhance key pieces of critical railway infrastructure in order to ensure that they are working at their absolute best
  • Specifically tailored upgrade programmes for key parts of the network such as Edinburgh and the Borders, Lanarkshire and Tayside
  • A programme of upgrades to trains to rectify the most common causes of faults
  • The identification, monitoring and protection of the ‘Golden Trains’ that, if delayed, have the biggest impact on the rest of the rail network
  • A programme to identify alterations to the way we operate our train timetable that will make our overall service more effective
  • Plans to improve the way we roster staff and diagram trains

ScotRail Alliance Infrastructure Director, David Dickson said: “We are not a just a company made up of metal boxes, wooden sleepers or concrete buildings. We have 7500 people working for us – and every single one of them is dedicated to doing the very best for our customers.

“Our railway is undergoing the biggest period of change and modernisation since the Victorian era. Over the course of the next year or so we will be completing huge projects to upgrade our infrastructure, electrifying large parts of the network and introducing new fleets of faster, longer greener and intercity trains.

“All of this work will transform rail travel in Scotland. We will have shorter journey times, better equipped trains and, crucially, a huge expansion in the number of services we run and the seats we are able to offer. When we complete this work, there will be a hundred thousand more seats available each and every weekday than there was at the start of the current Franchise.

“With this amount of change, there is inevitably some disruption. We are doing everything we can to minimise this – such as the work we did to keep people moving during the closure of the Queen Street Tunnel. However, there is no doubt that our performance in recent months, as a result of all of this work, has dipped slightly. The plan we are publishing today details how we bring it back to the level that our customers expect and that we want to deliver.”

On the plans to prepare for Autumn, David Dickson added: “Autumn is one of the most difficult periods for all rail operators across Britain. Leaves on the line has become a cliché over the years, but the problems that are caused by wet weather and vegetation are all too real.

“Leaf debris on the tracks can cause train wheels to slip – increasing breaking distances and making conditions more difficult for our drivers.

“We are committing a huge amount of time, effort and people to tackling these problems. The special trains we are deploying play a hugely important role in clearing tracks and keeping trains moving.”