Scotrail unveils £475m improvement plan
Train operator Scotrail has announced a £475m programme, pledging new trains, thousands of extra seats, more at-seat power points and better wifi.
The seven-year project will see 75% of trains refurbished or replaced.
About 180 new carriages are to be added to the fleet, 346 trains to be fitted with free wifi and more than 17,000 power points added to carriages.
ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said it was the biggest programme in the company's history.
ScotRail Alliance took over Scotland's train franchise in April.
Mr Verster said: "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."
Refurbished Class 318 trains
All 21 of ScotRail's Class 318s are being fully refurbished inside and out, with new accessible toilets, wheelchairs spaces and companion seating. Further enhancements will also see power sockets fitted for the first time, with cycle storage, CCTV and free wifi to follow next year.
Extra Class 320 trains
ScotRail will have rolled out seven additional, refurbished Class 320 three-carriage trains on Strathclyde routes by August next year.
High Speed Trains
ScotRail's new High Speed Train fleet will be introduced from autumn 2017 and throughout 2018 and used on the Glasgow-Aberdeen, Edinburgh-Aberdeen, Glasgow-Inverness, Edinburgh-Inverness and Aberdeen-Inverness routes. As this fleet is made up of four and five-carriage trains, rather than current three-carriage trains, the seating capacity will increase on these services by, on average, 36%.
New electric Hitachi Class 385 trains
These 70 brand new trains will be rolled out by December 2018 on a number of routes in Central Scotland, including:
- Edinburgh Waverley - Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High
- Edinburgh Waverley - Dunblane / Alloa
- Glasgow Queen Street - Dunblane / Alloa
- Glasgow Queen Street - Cumbernauld / Falkirk Grahamston
- Edinburgh Waverley - North Berwick / Dunbar / Berwick
- Edinburgh Waverley - Glasgow Central
- Glasgow Central - Newton / Neilston / Cathcart Circle
This will allow ScotRail to run trains of up to eight carriages on its flagship Edinburgh-Glasgow line.
Eversholt Rail is carrying out the refurbishment programme.
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 £5bn 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.
"When completed, this major train improvement programme will mean that 75% of trains on our railways are either brand new or newly-refurbished, meaning all passengers across the network will have access to more modern, comfortable and accessible trains."