Electric milestone for ScotRail Alliance

A NEW electric train has run under power on part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow EGIP route for the first time.

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme includes full electrification for the route via Falkirk, and new Class 385 trains are now being delivered from Hitachi. The service should begin ‘over the next few months’, according to the ScotRail Alliance.

The pioneering journey at 02.00 yesterday (18 October) was made by a Class 385 unit which has yet to be fitted out internally. The run was only between Edinburgh and Linlithgow in West Lothian, but it has been hailed as a ‘hugely important step’ which will now usher in a period of full scale tests on the route after final safety checks have been made.

The Alliance’s programmes and transformation director Ian McConnel said: “Yesterday’s trial was a hugely important step towards completing the electrification of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Having a train run on the route is one of the final phases of the electrification process. That it has gone so well tells us that we are almost ready to begin the next stage – which is to start fully testing the new trains themselves.

“We are building the best railway that Scotland has ever had. When we replace the diesel trains with the brand new, state of the art, electric fleet we will deliver enormous benefits to our customers. Cleaner, greener travel – with more seats and faster journeys will completely transform travel between our two biggest cities.”

The new fleet will displace Class 170 Bombardier Turbostars which have been providing the core main line service between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street for more than a decade.

Hitachi Rail Europe programme manager Andy Radford added: “We’re hopeful that we’ll be given permission to start full testing. We’ve now got trains at our factory in Newton Aycliffe ready to travel to Scotland.”

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