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Minister welcomes more seats for ScotRail passengers

Published: 16 Nov 2016 14:18
Part of:
Transport

Additional class 320 enters service today

Rail passengers across Strathclyde are set to benefit from the arrival of the latest of seven extra trains.

The sixth of these seven trains enters service today, boosting seating capacity on busy routes. Once the seventh and final train arrives early next year, there will be a combined additional 1500 seats per day.

Welcoming the arrival of the most recent Class 320 train, which will run on cross-Glasgow services, Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said:

“The Scottish Government wants to see more people choose to leave their car at home and make use of public transport but to make that possible we know we must increase capacity.

“We are investing a record £5 billion in our rail network, including improvements to rolling stock just like this, to ensure we are providing more services and more seats for more passengers.

“This latest addition to the ScotRail fleet means passengers will have better, more modern, comfortable and accessible trains.

“Since 2007, 20% more carriages have been introduced into the ScotRail fleet but we are not stopping there and during this franchise this will continue with 200 more carriages to be added by 2019.”

Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance Managing Director said: “This is a milestone achievement in our overall train improvement programme, which sees £475 million spent on refurbishments and new trains for Scotland’s railway.

“This latest addition to our fleet generates more capacity – and ultimately more seats - for customers in the Strathclyde area, making rail travel a more appealing transport option.

“We’ve listened to customers, and that feedback is reflected in the upgrades we’ve made. For example, customers can charge their phones and laptops during their journeys, and can look forward to using free on-train WiFi next year.”

ScotRail have leased the additional trains - owned by Eversholt Rail Group. The work is being carried out at Wabtec Rail’s Doncaster facility.

Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, Eversholt Rail said

“This refurbished Class 320 is further demonstration of our commitment to delivering the best value and highest quality rolling stock to our customers and their rail passengers. Our programme of enhancements to all our fleets in Scotland is well underway and we continue to work closely with our partners in the ScotRail Alliance.”

The complete refurbishment programme has delivered better lighting, new seating, floor covering, repainting, accessibility enhancements, dedicated cycle space and at-seat power sockets.

The fleet also has new wheel slide protection installed which will help address challenges, such as wheel slip, noted during autumn leaf fall season and colder temperatures. This, in turn, will help reduce delays and potential damage to train wheels improving resilience of passenger services.

The 213 seat trains will also be fitted with new CCTV and passenger information systems. Wi-Fi will also be activated across the fleet early next year.

Notes to Editor

ScotRail have leased these additional units - owned by Eversholt Rail Group and previously operated by London Midland - as part of their £475 million train improvement programme, which will see 200 more carriages introduced and 23% more seats delivered by 2019.

  • The three-carriage Class 320 trains have been painted in ScotRail’s ‘Saltire’ livery and feature revamped interiors including modern flooring, finishes and fully accessible toilets.
  • The 213-seat trains will also be fitted with new CCTV and Passenger Information systems. In addition, Wi-Fi will be rolled out across the fleet.
  • The revamped trains have been introduced at a rate of one every few weeks on routes between Glasgow Central High Level and Lanark, Milngavie/ Dalmuir - Motherwell/Larkhall/Cumbernauld via Glasgow Central Low Level.
  • In addition the first of the 70 new C385 fleet – delivering faster, longer, greener trains - 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.
  • 26 full refurbished HSTs are also being introduced on inter-city routes during the second half of 2018.
  • During autumn, leaves and plant matter fall onto the rails – in particular the top or “rail head”, making them slippery. This poses problems for the operation of trains: it can cause wheel flats (where braking without friction causes wheel damage) meaning trains end up out of service and reductions in capacity provided.
  • These issues and the reaction to it cause delay and - given the tight timetable and turnaround times at destinations – ultimately, cancellations.
  • This is an issue the franchisee and rail network deal with every year. Work which takes place to combat leaf fall issues include:
  • Cutting back vegetation at track side;
  • "Defensive driving" to minimise wheel flats
  • Use of sand boxes on train to lay down sand onto tracks to improve adhesion