The ScotRail Alliance has announced its largest-ever train improvement programme – pledging to deliver thousands of extra seats, new trains, improved accessibility and enhanced facilities.
These will include at-seat power points and better wifi, and the improvements will be to lines including the Edinburgh Waverley-Berwick route.
ScotRail will spend £475 million on the programme over the next seven years. This will see 75% of its train fleet either new or fully refurbished.
Speaking as they unveiled a newly-refurbished Class 318 train, Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport and Islands, and ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster confirmed that during the next three years, 180 carriages will be added to the fleet, bringing the total to almost 1,000.
Two-thirds of current ScotRail trains will be refurbished by 2018, with more than 17,000 at-seat power points added. - 346 more trains will be equipped with free wifi
Mr Verster said: “This is the biggest improvement programme in ScotRail’s history. Over the course of the next three years we will bring in new trains, upgrade our existing fleet and deliver exciting upgrades like better wifi and at-seat power points. This is an extraordinary programme of works that will give Scotland a railway of which we can be truly proud.
“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.
“We are not just about running metal boxes up and down tracks. We want to connect people with jobs, business with customers and tourists with destinations. Our vision of Connecting Scotland is about using the railway to help our country to grow and prosper. The transformation of our fleet in the next few years will help deliver that.”
Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, said: “The Scottish Government wants to see more people choose to leave their car at home and make use of public transport. That is why we are investing a record £5 billion in our rail network, including significant improvements to rolling stock, to ensure that infrastructure keeps pace with demand and that Scotland’s rail passengers are offered the very best value for money.”
It was also confirmed that the services between Edinburgh Waverley and Dunbar, an on to Berwick, will benefit.
The line will see some of the 70-strong fleet of new electric Hitachi Class 385 trains, installed by the end of 2018.