ScotRail bike train plans take shape

ScotRail’s plan to provide Class 153 diesel units dedicated to carrying bicycles on West Highland services has taken a step forward, with the release of a series of pictures showing how the converted units could look.

In conjunction with Transport Scotland, ScotRail is examining the possibility of using several of the single-car diesel units displaced from services in England. They are compatible with ScotRail’s Class 156 units that ply the line between Glasgow Queen Street and Fort William, Oban and Mallaig. In summer, these services are very busy with great demand to carry bikes.


ScotRail spokesman John Beaton stressed to RAIL that the project was in its early stages and that while the illustrations (used in an internal briefing) showed how the Class 153s could look, their design was not finalised.

“We’re some way off the tender process,” he said, adding that there was no firm date for any entry into service.

Previous Scottish transport ministers have called for the bike coaches to be in service next summer. ScotRail’s illustrations also show skis being carried to give the Class 153s a winter role.

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  • Keith Cunliffe - 20/12/2018 10:25

    There is a need for increased services on the Fort William & Mallaig line, especially in mid afternoon, as there is nothing between 12:21 & 18:21hrs

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  • Adam Edwards - 21/12/2018 20:10

    It would be so good if one space per 153 could be found for a tandem. My disabled partner cannot ride a bicycle (she can ride a trike) so we use a tandem for longer distances. Unfortunately that means Scotland north of Glasgow and Edinburgh are inaccesible to us as tandems are banned. These 153s would at least open up the West Highlands and if one could run just once per day to Inverness we could get further north. Please Scotrail, cnsider disabled riders!

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  • ANTHONY TOMLINSON - 28/12/2018 12:20

    Would be amazing if this piece long-awaited and obviously-lacking basic infrastructure could one day get further than an artist's impression.

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  • Dave Jermy - 25/02/2019 18:22

    In the days of BR when trains had guards vans you could take your bike on most trains with no charge. A couple of years ago when I used the sleeper service from Inverness my bike was taken separately in a Transit van following the train all the way to London! I welcome this new initiative but other services need to create more space for bikes in order to provide a proper integrated network.

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