First complete three-car Class 385 arrives in Scotland, but still no start date for new trains

Three-car 385010 and 385009 stand oustide Newton Aycliffe on January 17, with DB Cargo 67002 just visible in the background. The ‘67’ had arrived to collect 385015 to take to Craigentinny. No Class 385 has yet entered passenger traffic, with ScotRail stating it was working hard to get them into service. JAMES GARTHWAITE.

Three-car 385015 arrived at Craigentinny overnight on January 17/18, the first complete three-car Class 385/0 delivered to Scotland.

Now, ScotRail is working with the Office of Rail and Road and Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) to smooth the introduction into passenger service of the first '385' electric multiple units. 

SR has 70 EMUs on order, with five so far in Scotland for testing (385001/015, 385102-104). Two were due to be delivered this week, with 385015 the first. Three-car 385001 is already in Scotland, but has not been fitted with an interior as it has been used purely for testing, and will return to Newton Aycliffe at some point in the future.

Both SR and HRE also told RAIL that three-car 385002 and four-car 385101 will arrive in the UK from mainland Europe in the next few weeks. They have been undergoing tests at Velim (Czech Republic), followed by further tests in Germany, where they were hauled at speeds of up to 100mph.

Class 385s were due to enter traffic initially on the newly electrified Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk Grahamston route from December. That was ruled out by SR, with Siemens Class 380s used instead.

SR spokesman Angus Duncan told RAIL: “We’re building the best railway Scotland has ever had - these new trains mean more seats, faster journeys and better services. We’re excited about their arrival and know our customers will love them too.

"“Two more Class 385s will be delivered to Scotland this week, and the two trains currently on test in Germany will be returning to the UK shortly. We are working with Hitachi and the Office of Rail and Road to ensure that we can introduce the ‘385s’ into traffic as soon as we can.”

Transport Scotland ordered the ‘385s’ in October 2014. Forty-six three-car sets (385001-385046) and 24 four-car sets (385101-385124) are on order. On Edinburgh-Glasgow they will initially run as seven-car trains, before platform lengthening is completed to allow eight-car trains to run.

They will also be used on newly electrified trains to Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane; on the Shotts line between Edinburgh and Glasgow; as well as on Edinburgh-Glasgow, North Berwick services and Strathclyde routes, including to Newton, Neilston and the Cathcart Circle. 

  • For much more on this, read RAIL 845, published on January 31, and available on Android and iPad from January 27.
  • For more on the Class 385s, read December still the target for EGIP electrics, RAIL 833, available on Android and iPad.

  • For more on the '385s', read First complete Class 385 fitted out, RAIL 833, available on Android and iPad.


  • For more on the transformation of ScotRail, read Scotland’s new rail champion, RAIL 833, available on Android and iPad.
  • To read about the '385s' assembled at Newton Aycliffe, read Hitachi unveils first complete Scottish Class 385, RAIL 838, available on Android and iPad.
  • For more on the '385s', read Spring target for Scottish ‘385s’ as testing begins, RAIL 839, available on Android and iPad.
  • Fore more on the '385s', Late electrification delays debut of ScotRail ‘385s’, RAIL 841, available on Android and iPad.


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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 19/01/2018 18:59

    Guarantee that the Class 385’s could enter passenger service in the summer (June/July). Plus with the Edinburgh-Glasgow electrification via High Falkirk which could be completed around May or completed by August/September so that the Class 385’s can operate on the electrified Falkirk High Line between the 2 Scottish cities. Aswell the Class 385’s to operate between Edinburgh and North Berwick.

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    • FrankH - 20/01/2018 13:19

      You know more than Scotrail does then, they're optimistic that once mileage accumilation, interface with signalling and driver training plus enough units are ready they will start to introduce them to traffic. No firm dates.

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