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UK: ScotRail has unveiled the interior of the first of the five ‘active travel’ coaches which are being produced by modifying Class 153 single-car diesel multiple-units to carry up to 20 bicycles, bulky luggage and sporting equipment such as skis.

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The vehicles also include passenger seats, and will be used to increase capacity on existing services on the highly scenic West Highland Line.

The conversion of the DMUs owned by leasing company Angel Trains is being undertaken by Brodie Engineering in Kilmarnock. It includes a full interior and exterior refresh, with the installation of free wi-fi, at-seat power sockets and a refurbished toilet with controlled emission tank. There is space for tandem bicycles, and an e-bike charging socket which ScotRail said was a first for a train in the UK.

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The exterior livery designed by artist Peter McDermott depicts West Highland Line landmarks including the Glenfinnan monument and viaduct, Skye Cuillin mountain range, Ben Lomond and the castle on Loch Awe.

‘It’s fantastic to see our first active travel carriage nearly complete, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the interior design’, said ScotRail Project Manager Tom Smith on October 21.

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The first vehicle will enter service once staff training can be undertaken safely. ‘We’re living in uncertain times’, said Smith, ‘but when these carriages are eventually introduced, it will be a welcome boost for cyclists and those in search of outdoor pursuits along Scotland’s most scenic railways.’