Abellio ScotRail

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Rèile na h-Alba
Scotrail new logo.svg
Falkirk High - Abellio 170454 arriving from Glasgow.JPG
1 April 2015 – 31 March 2025
Main Region(s)Scotland
Other Region(s)Cumbria, Northumberland
Stations operated353
National Rail abbreviationSR
Parent companyAbellio

Abellio ScotRail (Scottish Gaelic: Rèile na h-Alba),[1] operating services under the name ScotRail, is the Dutch-owned national train operating company of Scotland. A subsidiary of Abellio, it has operated the ScotRail franchise since 1 April 2015.


In November 2013, Transport Scotland announced that Abellio, Arriva, FirstGroup, MTR Corporation and National Express had been shortlisted to bid for the new ScotRail franchise.[2] In October 2014, the franchise was awarded to Abellio.[3][4][5] The franchise will operate for 7 years with a 3-year extension available contingent on performance criteria being met.[4] Abellio began operating the franchise on 1 April 2015 and it opened the Borders Railway on 6 September 2015.[6]

In June 2016, the RMT union announced that train guards would be going on strike several times during the summer months in protest of more driver only trains.[7] Six 24-hour and three 48-hour strikes were held on ScotRail services during June and July 2016. An agreement was reached in September 2016, bringing an end to the dispute. It was agreed that the new Class 385 trains will have the doors controlled by both the driver and guard, with the driver opening the doors and the guard closing them.[8]

On 20 January 2017 the Managing Director of ScotRail and the ScotRail alliance stepped down from his role after 18 months in the company.[9] Within a few days Alex Hynes was named as the new Managing Director.[10]



ScotRail routes highlighted in red

Abellio ScotRail took over all of the services operated by First ScotRail on 1 April 2015, except for the Caledonian Sleeper services, which were transferred to a separate franchise operated by Serco.[11] The franchise agreement requires the introduction of 'Great Scottish Scenic Railway' trains on the West Highland, Far North, Kyle, Borders Railway and Glasgow South Western lines. Steam special services are also promoted by Abellio ScotRail.[12][13]


Abellio ScotRail operates 353 stations in Scotland.[14] Not included are Glasgow Prestwick Airport station, owned and operated by the airport,[15] as well as both Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, which are managed by Network Rail.[16] Abellio ScotRail operates Lockerbie even though none of its services call there. It also took over management of Dunbar, previously operated by Virgin Trains East Coast, in June 2015.[17]


Abellio ScotRail's fleet is maintained at Edinburgh Haymarket, Glasgow Eastfield, Glasgow Shields Road, Corkerhill Glasgow Yoker, Ayr Townhead, Bathgate and Inverness as well as a newly built EMU stabling depot at Millerhill in Midlothian.

Rolling stock[edit]

Abellio ScotRail operates a diverse fleet of DMUs, EMUs and loco-hauled stock. From Sunday 10 December 2017, Class 380 EMUs were introduced onto services between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Falkirk High (also serving Croy, Polmont, Linlithgow and Haymarket). This was the first step in creating an entirely electric service between the two cities which is now expected to start in October 2018 with Class 385 EMUs, which should have entered service in December 2017, but have been delayed due to a windscreen fault. Abellio ScotRail began operations with the rolling stock below, mainly transferred from First ScotRail:[18][19]

Current fleet[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars Routes Built Notes
mph km/h
43 High Speed Train Taunton - Abellio ScotRail 43149.JPG Diesel locomotive 125 201 54 N/A Edinburgh to Aberdeen

Glasgow to Aberdeen


Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness

Inverness to Aberdeen

1975–82 Operates under the brand Inter7City

Some sets operating with unrefurbished GWR stock--ie. still with slam-doors. and simply debadged First Great Western/ Great Western livery. However, there is always at least 1 Class 43 loco in Inter7city livery in each train, usually at the Glasgow/Edinburgh (south) end.

Mark 3 carriage GWR Mk3 TS 48111 Plymouth.JPG Passenger carriage 121 4 and 5
68 Haymarket - DRS 68007 evening commuter service.JPG Diesel Locomotive 100 160 2 N/A Fife Circle Line 2013-14 On hire from DRS
Mark 2 carriage Haymarket - Abellio Mk2f 5965.JPG Passenger Carriage 100 160 12 6 1973-75
156 Super Sprinter Carlisle - ScotRail 156501 Newcastle train.JPG DMU 75 120 48 2 Glasgow South Western Line

East Kilbride Branch

West Highland Line

Maryhill Line

Tyne Valley line

Cumbernauld Line (Until October 2018)

Shotts Line (Until March 2019)

1987-89 38 units will remain in service with ScotRail after all new rolling stock has been introduced in Summer 2019
158 Express Sprinter Haymarket - Abellio 158868 Shotts service.JPG 90 145 46 2 Far North Line

Kyle of Lochalsh Line

Fife Circle

Borders Railway

Inverness to Aberdeen Line

Glasgow to Anniesland (Until October 2018)

Glasgow Queen Street to Falkirk Grahamston (Until October 2018)

Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness (Until October 2018)

Glasgow to Edinburgh via Shotts (Until March 2019)

1989-92 40 units will remain in service with ScotRail after all new rolling stock has been introduced in Summer 2019
170 Turbostar 170396 at Inverkeithing, 08 May 2013.JPG 100 161 45 3 Fife Circle

Borders Railway

North Berwick Line - Peak Only (Until October 2018)

Edinburgh/Glasgow to Dunblane and Alloa (Until December 2018)

Glasgow/Edinburgh to Aberdeen (Until May 2019)

Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness (Until May 2019)

Glasgow/Edinburgh to Perth/Dundee/Carnoustie from Late 2018/Early 2019

1998-2005 34 units will remain in service with ScotRail after all new rolling stock has been introduced in Summer 2019
314 314212 at Patterton.jpg EMU 70 113 16 3 Cathcart Circle Lines, Inverclyde Line, Paisley Canal Line 1979 To be completely withdrawn when enough Class 385s are introduced to allow cascading of stock
318 Hyndland - Abellio 318262 Cumbernauld service.JPG 90 145 21 3 North Clyde Line, Whifflet Line, Cumbernauld Line, Inverclyde Line, Paisley Canal Line 1986-87
320 Hyndland 320314.jpg 90 145 31 3 North Clyde Line, Cumbernauld Line, Whifflet Line, Paisley Canal Line, Inverclyde Line 1990 Nine of these 30 units are Class 320/4s, and have a top speed of 100mph (160kmh)
334 Juniper 334038 sits at Edinburgh Waverley, 05 April 2013.JPG 90 145 40 3 North Clyde Line, Helensburgh Central/ Balloch/ Milngavie to Edinburgh Waverley 1999-2002
365 Networker Express Haymarket - Abellio 365533 eastbound.JPG 100 161 10 4 Glasgow to Edinburgh via Falkirk Line (Until May 2019)

Edinburgh to Dunblane (started 9 December 2018)

380 Desiro 380101 at Glasgow Central.jpg 100 160 22 3 Ayrshire Coast Line, Paisley Canal Line, Cumbernauld Line, Inverclyde Line

Glasgow - Edinburgh via Falkirk Line (Until 385’s take over)

Cathcart Circle Lines (Until October 2018)

North Berwick and Dunbar services (Until enough class 385 in service)

16 4
385 385003 at Linlithgow.jpg 100 161 46 3 Glasgow to Edinburgh via Falkirk Line

Glasgow and Edinburgh to North Berwick/Dunbar

Glasgow and Edinburgh to Dunblane and Alloa (started 9 December 2018)

Glasgow-Cathcart Circle/Neilston/Newton (From October 2018)

Glasgow to Edinburgh via Motherwell and Carstairs (From October 2018)

Paisley Canal Line (along with the Class 380 Rolling Stock (in October 2018)

Glasgow to Edinburgh via Shotts (From March 2019)

2015–2017 Due to replace the Class 314s from October 2018
24 4

Future fleet[edit]

Abellio ScotRail has mentioned the following as part of the future rolling stock.

Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Into Service Built Routes
mph km/h
153 Super Sprinter Par - GWR 153305+153318 leaving westwards.JPG DMU 75 120 5 1 October/November 2018[20] 1987–88 West Highland Line (From 2018)

Kyle Line, Far North Line (From 2020)

Abellio ScotRail were meant to introduce a brand new fleet of 46 three-car and 24 four-car Class 385 electric trains from December 2017, to operate services on the lines being electrified as part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme. However, due to infrastructure problems, and issues with the trains involving software and windscreen issues, their introduction was delayed until September. In the meantime Abellio ScotRail hired 10 Class 365 units from Great Northern; these units entered service in June 2018.[21] If Abellio is granted a three-year optional franchise extension, it will order a further 10 three-car Class 385 units.[22][23]

From October 2018, Abellio ScotRail introduced former GWR HSTs on services between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, branded as "Inter7City" in reference to Scotland's seven main cities.[24][4][25] The Mark 3 coaches, up to 40 years old, were intended to all have refurbished interiors and are fitted with powered doors. There will be 26 sets: 17 five-car and 9 four-car trains.[24] As with the Class 385’s there have been delays getting the refurbished trains into service. As a result a considerable number have been pressed in to service without refurbishment to allow for others to have refurbishment completed.

This new rolling stock will result in 10 Class 156, 8 Class 158 and 21 (originally 34) Class 170s returning to their leasing companies when their leases expire in 2018.[26] Transport Scotland negotiated to retain an extra 13 Class 170s to support services through Fife to Aberdeen and the Borders railway.[27] Northern will receive 5 of these 156s, all the 158s and 16 of the 170s.[28]

In June 2018 it was announced that ScotRail will lease 5 Class 153 and reconfigure them to accommodate bikes and other outdoors sports equipment. The Class 153 will be attached to ScotRail Class 156s which will operate the line from late 2018 travelling between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig initially, and may eventually be introduced on Northern lines between Inverness, Kyle of Lochalsh and Wick.[29]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no SC450732 ScotRail Limited
  2. ^ "Scotrail franchise shortlist named" BBC News 1 November 2013
  3. ^ "Dutch firms wins ScotRail franchise from FirstGroup" BBC News 8 October 2014
  4. ^ a b c "Abellio awarded ScotRail franchise" Railway Gazette International 8 October 2014
  5. ^ "Abellio awarded contract to operate Scotland's National Railway, ScotRail" (Press release). Abellio. n.d.
  6. ^ Borders railway Transport Scotland
  7. ^ ScotRail workers to stage series of six strikes, RMT says BBC News 14 June 2016
  8. ^ RMT members accept ScotRail deal over guards BBC News 5 October 2016
  9. ^ RAILNEWS. "ScotRail chief Phil Verster in surprise resignation | Railnews | Today's news for Tomorrow's railway". www.railnews.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Alex Hynes named as new ScotRail Alliance managing director". BBC News. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Serco wins franchise for Caledonian sleeper train service" BBC News 28 May 2014
  12. ^ ScotRail Franchise Transport Scotland
  13. ^ ScotRail announces second summer of steam on Borders Railway ScotRail 14 June 2016
  14. ^ "Estimates of station usage - Office of Rail and Road". orr.gov.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  15. ^ Station Access Application. Office of Rail Regulation.
  16. ^ Our stations Archived 10 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine.. Network Rail.
  17. ^ ScotRail Franchise Invitation to Tender Archived 13 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine.. Transport Scotland. 23 January 2014.
  18. ^ Facts & Figures Abellio ScotRail
  19. ^ "ScotRail franchise facts & figures" Rail Magazine issue 759 15 October 2014 page 8.
  20. ^ Dalton, Alastair (19 June 2018). "Cycle coaches to be hitched to trains to ease bike crush". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  21. ^ "New ScotRail trains to ease crush on Edinburgh - Glasgow line The Scotsman (Glasgow) 22 April 2018
  22. ^ "Hitachi selected for Scottish EMU contract" International Railway Journal (London) 9 October 2014
  23. ^ "Hitachi to build ScotRail EMUs" Railway Gazette International 10 October 2014
  24. ^ a b Lissenberg, Ferry (16 October 2018). "Scotrail starts Inter7City service with refurbished HSTs". Railcolor. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  25. ^ ScotRail HST fleet plans Rail Magazine 1 September 2015
  26. ^ "Abellio takes over ScotRail" Today's Railways issue 162 June 2015 page 12
  27. ^ ScotRail rail revolution declared as 39 carriages to be retained by ScotRail instead of going elsewhere Rail.co.uk 25 March 2016
  28. ^ Abellio ScotRail franchise agreement Archived 29 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Transport Scotland
  29. ^ Dalton, Alastair (19 June 2018). "Cycle coaches to be hitched to trains to ease bike crush". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 July 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Abellio ScotRail at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
First ScotRail
ScotRail franchise
Operator of ScotRail franchise
2015 - 2025
Succeeded by