New trains better connecting Scotland's communities

Hundreds of new train carriages with more seats are among major improvements to Scotland’s railway, set to make journeys faster, more comfortable and more reliable, better connecting communities across the country over the next two and a half years.

Almost 1,000 new carriages, the vast majority of which will be built in County Durham by Hitachi Rail Europe, are set to roll into stations across Scotland by early 2020, part of a Britain-wide boost of more than 5,500 new carriages that will make journeys better.

New analysis by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) shows that passengers will benefit from:

  • 497 new carriages on Virgin Trains East Coast to be delivered with the introduction of new Azuma trains between late 2018 and February 2020;
  • 234 carriages for new electric commuter trains, the first of which will be introduced over the course of the next year by Abellio Scotrail;
  • 155 new carriages on electric, long-distance TransPennine Express trains linking Liverpool and Manchester with Glasgow and Edinburgh, to be introduced by December 2019 - with a new direct service from Glasgow to Liverpool Lime Street from December 2018;
  • 75 new carriages for Caledonian Sleeper, the first of which will be introduced in spring 2018 for cross-border overnight services.

Customers will enjoy greater comfort on longer trains with more space, air-conditioning as standard, better connectivity and Wi-Fi, and entertainment systems on some trains. Improved on-board catering and plug sockets will also feature.

The substantial investment in new trains is being backed by network upgrades including electrification of central belt commuter routes between Edinburgh and Glasgow and improvements to the Aberdeen main line and intercity routes – part of a plan to invest and improve services now and for the long term.

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the RDG, which brings together train companies and Network Rail to improve the railway, said:

“Working together, rail companies are investing to improve journeys and to ensure Scotland’s railway continues to support the nation’s economy now and for the long term. Scotland’s economy benefits by up to £64m each year simply through businesses sharing knowledge and technology in clusters around rail links, so the impact of investment is clear.”

Liz Cameron OBE, Director & Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Business wants a better-connected country as part of a long-term plan for our vital infrastructure, and the investment being delivered by rail companies will enable that to happen. Improving journey times, enhancing the customer experience and rolling out new trains, are just some of the important steps rail companies are taking to secure a sustainable rail network and maintain the vital contribution that rail makes to Scotland's economy.”

Karen Boswell MBE, Managing Director, Hitachi Rail Europe, said:

“Hitachi is building 4 out of 5 of the new generation of Scottish trains and the first of which will be introduced for passengers to use next year. Our £82m purpose –built factory in County Durham is making new commuter and intercity trains, inspired by bullet train technology, and will help give Scotland the best railway it has ever had.”


Notes to editors

  • Analysis of new train orders by the RDG shows that almost 961 new carriages will be introduced to Scotland’s railway between now and early 2020.
  • TransPennine Express will introduce a further 65 carriages on its North route by 2019, meaning that it will operate one of the newest train fleets in the country.
  • For more details on the new trains and upgrades to the railway infrastructure, visit or
  • Scotland’s rail industry and its supply chain benefits the national economy by £670m (Gross Value Added) every year, providing tax receipts of up to £290m, according to the economists Oxera in the report What is the economic contribution of rail in Scotland, prepared in March 2016 for Transport Scotland and the Rail Delivery Group.
  • There are around 9,200 full-time employees in the Scottish rail sector, with a further 3,600 employees in the rail supply chain.
  • The rail sector leads to up to £64m of benefits from the sharing of knowledge and technology due to firms locating in clusters near rail links.
  • Hitachi Rail Europe is building 826 new train carriages for Scotland. It manufacturing base in the UK is a newly established factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which has created 1,000 new jobs. The company is also investing a further £10m into Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh, where both commuter and intercity express trains will be maintained.

Contact Information

Rail Delivery Group Media Team