THE problems with new Hitachi Class 385 units for the Scottish central belt appear to have been resolved, because the first examples are now set to enter service tomorrow.
Introduction of the new units has been delayed for months after trials revealed that their original windscreens were distorting the drivers’ view of the line ahead, particularly at night, when signal aspects were multiplied confusingly.
The 70 Class 385s are mainly intended for services on the newly-electrified route between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, and after some of the line’s Class 170 diesels had been cascaded elsewhere ScotRail drafted in some electric Class 365s from Great Northern as a stopgap.
The introduction of all 234 vehicles will take several months yet. In addition to the core service between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, they will eventually be used on other central belt routes to North Berwick, Cathcart Circle and Lanark, Dunblane, Stirling, Alloa, Cumbernauld and Falkirk Grahamston, as well on the Glasgow Central to Edinburgh line via Shotts.
ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said: “I am delighted. This is a significant moment.”
Hitachi’s managing director for Europe, Karen Boswell, said the factory at Newton Aycliffe was now ‘working tirelessly’ to complete the delivery.