TRAINS for the newly-electrified route between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street are set to be built by Hitachi after the firm was named as preferred bidder by Abellio, which will take over the ScotRail franchise next year.
Transport Scotland decided to award the franchise to Abellio two days ago, ousting FirstGroup after a decade. The new contract will start on 1 April.
The fleet of 234 AT200 vehicles, formed into 70 sets, will be built at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. It is due to enter service from 2017.
Hitachi Rail Europe’s chief operating officer Andy Barr said: “We are delighted that Abellio has selected Hitachi Rail Europe as preferred bidder to supply rolling stock as well as long-term maintenance of our electric trains. This is great news, as it is the first contract for our recently launched commuter train. These trains will be built at Hitachi’s new Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in Newton Aycliffe, complementing the delivery of the Class 800 and 801 trains for the Intercity Express Programme, boosting jobs and growth in the North East.”
The 160km/h fleet will consist of 46 three-car and 24 four-car trains, and it will also be used on the lines to Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa.
Reaction to the franchise decision has continued to come in. An Abellio spokesman said the company was ‘delighted’ to have won the franchise, and added: “The new fleet proposal was a major feature in our winning bid, and we look forward now to continuing the negotiations with our preferred supplier, Hitachi.”
However, RMT general secretary Mick Cash condemned the award as ‘scandalous’. He said: “There is no question that this whole franchising process could and should have been halted, pending the ratification of the post referendum devolution settlement, instead of rushing headlong into a deal that will deny the Scottish people ownership and control of their railways for many years to come.
“Scotland could have taken control of its own railways, instead they have opted to go Dutch, meaning that profits will be sucked out of the system to underpin investment and fares in Holland. It is a disgraceful and shameful betrayal.”