From Autumn 2017, passengers between Edinburgh and Glasgow will be able to travel on the Hitachi AT200 EMU – ScotRail’s new Class 385 units.
From today (February 10) they can experience the train at Edinburgh Waverley following the unveiling of a full-size model by Scottish Transport Minister Derek Mackay, ScotRail Alliance director Phil Verster and Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe.
The AT200 is one of a family of Hitachi EMUs designed for the European market. After the first six trains have been built in Japan, the remaining 64 will be built at Hitachi’s new UK Newton Aycliffe plant. Other EMUs are the high-density inner suburban AT100, the intercity AT300 – soon to appear as the IEP – and the high-speed AT400, which is still at the conceptual stage.
The new ScotRail EMUs are the first AT200s. Abellio signed a contract for 70 of these units in March 2015, a month before they took over the ScotRail franchise, although they started procurement discussions with Hitachi in August 2013.
The order comprises 46 three-car units and 24 four-car units and includes a 10-year contract for maintenance at Craigentinny, which will also service the IEPs.
As well as the Edinburgh to Glasgow route, these trains will run on services to Stirling and Alloa, North Berwick, Cumbernauld and South Glasgow suburban services.
Deliveries will start in Autumn 2017 and by December, the timetable will be accelerated as all Edinburgh to Glasgow services will be formed of Class 385 units. The full fleet will be delivered by December 2018.
There will, however, be a small number of electric services on the Glasgow to Edinburgh line in December when the EGIP electrification work is complete. These will use class 380 EMUs but will run to the same timetable as the current Class 170 DMUs.
The new EMUs will offer faster trains with more seats. Currently this service uses three-car class 170 DMUs which have 18 first class and 171 standard class seats. The four-car Class 385s replacing them will have 20 first class and 237 standard class seats. The three-car class 385s have 188 seats. Other passenger improvements include better alignment of seats with windows, power sockets in standard class and a flexible multi-use area for prams and bikes.
The interior of the new EMU will be on display at the eastern end of Edinburgh Waverley station until March 4. It will be manned by volunteers from all types of ScotRail staff, including apprentices.
Report by David Shirres