UK: Hitachi Rail Europe and Abellio formally announced the signing of the previously-announced contract for the supply and maintenance of 70 electric multiple-units for the next ScotRail franchise on March 12.

The EMUs are being financed by Caledonian Rail Leasing, a special purpose vehicle created by SMBC Leasing. The Scottish government has guaranteed the use of the EMUs on Scotland’s rail network for at least 25 years, at which point it could buy the fleet for a nominal £1.

The contract for 46 three-car and 24 four-car units is the first order for Hitachi’s AT200 design. The 25 kV 50 Hz EMUs will have 23 m long cars, end gangways, a maximum speed of 160 km/h and a design life of 35 years.

The first seven EMUs are to be built in Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan, with the remaining 63 to be produced at the Newton Aycliffe plant in northern England which is under construction for opening later this year. They are scheduled to enter service on the Edinburgh – Falkirk High – Glasgow, Stirling – Alloa – Dunblane and south Glasgow suburban routes from late 2017. The contract includes 10 years of maintenance.

‘This is an important deal for passengers and for Scotland’, said Abellio CEO Jeff Hoogesteger. ‘New trains for Scotland were a key feature in Abellio’s bid for the franchise and we are excited to be pressing the button on the delivery programme. The arrival of 24 Hitachi AT200s by late 2017 and a further 46 by December 2018 will ensure that the full benefits of the Edinburgh – Glasgow Improvement Programme are realised for passengers; delivering faster journey times, greater capacity and higher service quality. And the effects of the investment will spread much wider than that. The new trains will be more energy efficient, and innovations in design and lightweight construction will reduce the impact of services on important infrastructure.’

  • Abellio is to take over operation of the ScotRail franchise on April 1, replacing incumbent FirstGroup.