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This article is about the Scottish rail network since 1983. For the present-day rail franchise in Scotland, see First ScotRail.
Scotrail new logo.svg
380108 at Haymarket.jpg
Main area(s): Scotland
Other area(s): London, Watford, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle and Newcastle
Web site:

ScotRail has been the brand name used for all Scottish regional and commuter rail services, including some cross-border services, since 1983. Since 2008, It is the permanent name of the Scottish franchised rail services, regardless of the train operating company that operates them.


British Rail Class 47 named The Queen Mother in ScotRail livery in Cardiff Central in 1986.

British Railways[edit]

Main article: Regional Railways

The ScotRail brand was created by British Railways Scottish Region manager Chris Green in the mid 1980s[1] to provide a distinctive brand for the British Railways network in Scotland. The brand has developed and is still in use today.

National Express[edit]

The brand was adopted by National Express when it took over the franchise from British Railways during privatisation in 1997.

First Group[edit]

Main article: First ScotRail

When First Group became the franchisee in 17 October 2004, in line with other rail franchises it held, the brand was revised as First ScotRail, having outbid National Express. In September 2008, the Scottish Government agency, Transport Scotland, announced that the franchised Scottish rail services would be permanently renamed ScotRail.


When ScotRail was created by BR, services were operated by a variety of diesel locomotives and coaching stock together with diesel and electric multiple units. Prior to the introduction of Class 156 and Class 158 DMUs by British Rail, services were operated by slam-door stock such as the Class 101 DMUs. The slam door DMU were replaced by Class 156 from 1987 to 1989 and Class 158 units from 1989 to 1992.

As the first franchisee, National Express ordered a total of 55 Class 170 units from 1999-2004 (First would receive the last of the units ordered by National Express and would later transfer four units from its Hull Trains subsidiary) and by 2004, the only slam door services were also the only locomotive hauled services, the Caledonian Sleeper services from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William along with a single regional service between Edinburgh Waverley and North Berwick.

First ScotRail have since leased Class 322 electric multiple units to run between Edinburgh and North Berwick, subsequently replaced by part of the fleet of Class 380, the remainder of which operate on the Ayrshire Coast Line and Inverclyde Line.

ScotRail, since privatisation, has contracted EWS to haul the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Scotland. EWS operate a dedicated pool of five Class 90 electric locomotives to haul the Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston and Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, together with a fleet of Class 67 diesel locomotives to haul the various sleeper portions north of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Class 37 diesel locomotives were used in place of the Class 67 locomotives, primarily on the West Highland Line, an arrangement which continued under First Group through to 2006.

Current fleet[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Built Number
in Fleet
mph km/h
Class 156 Super Sprinter 156457 at Oban.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 1987–1989 48
Class 158 Express Sprinter British Rail Class 158 738.JPG Diesel multiple unit 90 145 1989–1992 49
Class 170 Turbostar Spt 170476 glasgow.jpg Diesel multiple unit 100 160 1999-2004 59
Class 314 British Rail Class 314.jpg Electric multiple unit 75 120 1979 16
Class 318 British Rail Class 318 at Gourock.jpg Electric multiple unit 90 145 1986-1987 21
Class 320 SPT320s Helensburgh.JPG Electric multiple unit 90 145 1990 22
Class 334 Juniper British Rail Class 334 005.jpg Electric multiple unit 90 145 1999-2002 40
Class 380 380108 at Haymarket.jpg Electric multiple unit 100 161 2009-2011 38
Mk 2 Coach ScotRail Mk2 coach at Euston.jpg Passenger rolling stock 100 160 1969–1974 20
Mk 3 Coach (Sleepers) Fort William sleeper.jpg Passenger rolling stock 125

(80 to 100 in service)


(130 to 160 in service)

1975–1988 53

Past fleet[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Built Withdrawn
mph km/h
Class 101 101692 at Arley.JPG Diesel multiple unit 70 112 1956–1960 2003
Class 150 Sprinter 150262 at Cardiff Central.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 1984–1987 2005
Class 303 Blue Train 14.06.83 Milngavie 303.016 (6076992180).jpg Electric multiple unit 75 120 1959–1961 2002
Class 305 Scotrail 305501 at Edinburgh Waverly.jpg Electric multiple unit 75 120 1960 2001
Class 311 Blue Train 311104 at a station.jpg Electric multiple unit 75 120 1967 1999


Regional Railways ScotRail branding on Mark 2 coach number 5174 at the Northampton & Lamport Railway on 26 January 2008
Transitional First ScotRail branding (First logo on the National Express colours) on 156457 at Oban on 25 June 2005
Saltire style ScotRail branding 314212 at Lyoncross on the 23 July 2011


ScotRail, under BR, used customised versions of the existing British Rail liveries, with passenger locomotives and coaching stock painted in a lightly modified version of the InterCity Executive livery. The red stripe was replaced with a saltire blue stripe, and the InterCity name was replaced with the ScotRail name. Diesel and Electric multiple units carried normal versions of the Regional Railways livery. In the SPT area, rolling stock (DMU and EMU) was painted in Strathclyde Orange.

National Express[edit]

The first unique ScotRail livery was introduced shortly after privatisation under National Express, who introduced their own livery. Initially, vehicles received the new ScotRail logo applied with vinyl stickers; a stylised outline of Scotland composed of three flashes in the corporate colours of green, red and purple. Multiple units were painted into the new livery with bodies in white (lower half) and purple (upper half) with green, red and white stripes bordering the purple, overlain by and a wide diagonal white band in the centre of the carriage. There were no units left with Regional Railways livery in Scotland at the end of the National Express franchise period, although the Class 305 electric units retained it until withdrawal in 2001. The latter were replaced by ex-Stansted Skytrain Class 322 units which were never repainted under the National Express franchise, receiving only ScotRail logo transfers. When the Class 322 hire ended in 2004, they were replaced on the North Berwick branch by EWS Class 90 electric locomotives hauling former Virgin Trains Mk.3 coaching stock, in the old Virgin red and grey livery, again with ScotRail logo transfers.


When First originally acquired the franchise, a new regional livery of pink, grey and purple and a new logo of a pink circle and an italicised "f" character was introduced. Legislation requiring train doors to be painted in a contrasting colour to the body for visually impaired passengers resulted in white doors with a pink stripe. Like National Express, First applied their logo on units by transfer until repainting. A large number of units were re-branded into this livery, including the Class 322 units re-acquired (and refurbished) for North Berwick service and the Class 90 locomotives used on Caledonian Sleeper services.

Transport Scotland[edit]

The SNP government and Transport Scotland have come up with a new livery which will be applied to all of Scotland's trains, when they go into maintenance. The new livery is dark blue background, with grey doors and a white dotted 'Saltire' Scottish flag. A new logo is also applied, ScotRail, with the tag line 'Scotland's Railway'. Stations and staff uniforms are also getting a new look - dark blue. This livery is not going to be replaced when the franchise ends, the only branding showing the operator will be a small "ScotRail is operated by" sign on the station building and on the train doors.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stewart, Valerie and Chadwick, Vivian (1987). Changing Trains: messages for management from the ScotRail challenge. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8870-3. 
  2. ^ Rail issue 602

External links[edit]