British Rail Class 385

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British Rail Class 385
385008 at Gourock station buffers.jpg
Class 385 Standard Class Interior.jpg
Standard-class interior
In service24 July 2018 – present
ManufacturerHitachi Rail
Built at
Family nameA-train
Entered service2018
Number built
  • 70
  • (46 × 385/0, 24 × 385/1)
  • 3 cars per 385/0 unit:
  • 4 cars per 385/1 unit:
Fleet numbers
  • 385/0: 385001–385046
  • 385/1: 385101–385124
  • 385/0: 206 seats
  • 385/1: 273 seats
  • (20 first class, 253 standard)
Depot(s)Craigentinny (Edinburgh)[1]
Line(s) served
Car body constructionDouble-skin aluminium
Car length
  • DM vehs.: 23.179 m (76 ft 0.6 in)
  • Trailers: 22.080 m (72 ft 5.3 in)
  • Double-leaf sliding plug
  • (2 per side per car)
Maximum speed100 mph (161 km/h)
Traction systemHitachi IGBT-VVVF
Traction motors
  • 250 kW (335 hp) each
  • (6 per 385/0, 8 per 385/1)
Acceleration0.84 m/s2 (2.8 ft/s2)
  • Normal: 1 m/s2 (3.3 ft/s2)
  • Emergency: 1.2 m/s2 (3.9 ft/s2)
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead
Current collector(s)Pantograph
UIC classification
  • 385/0: Bo′Bo′+2′2′+Bo′2′
  • 385/1: Bo′Bo′+2′2′+2′2′+Bo′Bo′
Braking system(s)Electro-pneumatic (disc)
Safety system(s)
Coupling systemDellner
Multiple workingWithin class (max. 12 cars)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Sourced from [2][3] unless otherwise noted.

The British Rail Class 385 AT200 is a type of electric multiple unit built by Hitachi Rail for Abellio ScotRail. A total of 70 units have been built, divided into 46 three-car and 24 four-car sets. Based on the design of the Hitachi A-train, they are part of the Hitachi AT200 product family.

The trains were built to operate services on newly electrified lines in the Central Belt on a mixture of both suburban and inter-urban routes. Having been ordered by Abellio ScotRail during April 2015, the first trainsets entered service during late July 2018. Their introduction was somewhat delayed due to the need for infrastructure works to be completed, as well as minor technical issues with the trainsets being uncovered. By December 2019, all 70 of the Class 385 trainsets had been delivered. Hitachi has proposed developing a battery electric multiple unit (BEMU) variant of the Class 385, allowing such a trainset to traverse lines that aren't electrified at present.


In October 2014, immediately after being awarded the ScotRail franchise, Abellio ScotRail announced it had concluded an agreement with the Japanese manufacturer Hitachi Rail to procure 234 new EMU carriages from its A-Train family for use on routes in Scotland that were being electrified.[4][2] During April 2015, a contract between Hitachi and Abellio ScotRail was signed, ordering 70 new-build trainsets at a cost of £475 million.[1] The trainsets, which are formed into a mix of three- and four-car units, were procured for the purpose of operating along the main Glasgow to Edinburgh via Falkirk Line from December 2017,[5] and across Central Scotland.[6] In this manner, the electrification programme and purchase of new EMUs to operate services, will allow a subsequent cascade of the diesel multiple units currently used elsewhere on the network.[1][7]

The order for the new EMUs was the first operator-based purchase of a Hitachi product for use in the UK following the IEP procurement, and its subsequent construction of its new Newton Aycliffe Manufacturing Facility facility at Newton Aycliffe, England.[2][8] The bulk of the new fleet was constructed at Newton Aycliffe, while the first seven units were instead built at Hitachi's Kasado Works factory in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi, Japan.[9] The trainsets were supplied to Abellio Scotrail through a leasing arrangement, which was formed at the time of the original order. Accordingly, the ownership of the fleet resides with Caledonian Rail Leasing, a subsidiary company of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.[10]

A Class 385 bodyshell being built by Hitachi at Kasado Works.

Construction of the first Class 385 units commenced in November 2015, with the first units being delivered in December 2016.[11][12][13][14] The construction process in Newton Aycliffe involved heavily defined processes, including 1,400 standard operating procedures generated from experience at Hitachi's Pistoia plant in Italy and Kasado factory in Japan.[2] The bodyshells, supplied by Kasado, were shipped to Newton Aycliffe and subjected to around seven days of static fitting out, after which they were moved through the production area via an internal traverser; each vehicle required 2,100 man-hours to complete. Roughly 71 percent of all components were sourced within the United Kingdom.[2]

An additional ten 3-car units were to be purchased if Transport Scotland exercised an option to extend Abellio ScotRail's contract from seven to ten years; they would have entered service in 2023.[15] The option was not taken up, however.[16]

During early 2019, Hitachi held a series of discussions with the Scottish Government on the development of a variant of the Class 385, a battery electric multiple unit (BEMU) that would be capable of running on unelectrified sections of line along a route.[17] The installation of batteries was reportedly described as being a relatively straightforward alteration to make; an underfloor battery unit, dependent upon size, would be able to power a trainset over distances of between 20 and 60 miles. The proposal drew upon Hitachi's existing experience with battery trains operated in Japan, and had been motivated by a recommendation from the rail decarbonisation task force which advocated that such measures be implemented.[17]

In May 2021, the Class 385 fleet was inspected for the presence of a potential safety-related structural weakness than has been identified on the similar IETs, also built by Hitachi. While evidence of this issue was found on units of the fleet during these checks, it was not designated as a safety issue at this time.[18]


The Class 385 is a member of Hitachi's A-Train[2] family of aluminium trains and was the first order for the AT-200 commuter train model.[10][19] The trains are designed for a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 km/h). Sets are formed of two powered driving cars and one or two unpowered intermediate cars.[3] The trains are fitted with a Hitachi-designed IGBT traction pack. Four-carriage trainsets feature four powered bogies per set and the three-carriage trainsets have three powered bogies per set. The passenger doors are plug type and are located at 1/3 and 2/3s along the car body. Seating is in a 2+2 configuration with a mixture of four-seat table bays and airline seating with seat back tables. A toilet is fitted in each driving car. The trains are fully air conditioned. [2]

Due to a requirement to support at-seat catering for all passengers, it was necessary to include a front-end corridor connection; this design alteration required considerable redesign of the driver's cab and forward section in order to obtain the desired functionality while conforming with standards on crashworthiness and driver ergonomics, particularly sighting. The University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre consulted on the cab's design, while feedback from drivers and train crews was also sought throughout the process.[2]


Two coupled Class 385 units, showing the original curved windscreen (left) and modified windscreen with flat glass (right)
Class 385 at Glasgow Central station

During early 2015, when the order for the Class 385 was placed, the fleet was expected to be declared operational around autumn 2017.[1] However, issues were encountered that necessitated timetable changes. During February 2018, reports emerged that vision problems with the Class 385 had been encountered during testing; these were the attributed to the visibility and curvature of the driver windows, which are smaller than usual, leading to drivers seeing "two or three signals", when only one exists.[20][21][22] One month later, the fleet was reportedly experiencing software-related issues as well; these factors caused the type's entry into service to be further deferred to December 2018, although this was later rolled back due to progress made on the issue.[23] In February 2018, type approval testing was reportedly nearly complete.[24]

Having received remedial work, the first trainset was able to enter service on 24 July 2018.[7][2] Thereafter, further trainsets were promptly introduced. After the discovery of a critical issue, all units were briefly withdrawn on 4 October 2018,[25] the type re-entered service on 13 October 2018. By November 2018, ten Class 385s were diagrammed for service; this rose to 32 during the following month and to 58 by May 2019.[1] Due to the delayed entry into service of the Class 385, ScotRail hired ten Class 365s as an interim measure between 2018 and 2019; these were retained until sufficient new Class 385 units had attained sufficient operational readiness.[7]

By December 2019, all 70 of the Class 385 units had been brought into revenue service. These trainsets are operated on the Croy, Dunblane and Shotts lines, as well as replacing existing stock on the Carstairs, Cathcart Circle Lines, Inverclyde Line plus Edinburgh to North Berwick[26] and Glasgow Central to Lanark services. The fleet's introduction allowed for the replacement of ScotRail's Class 314 fleet, along with the cascading of a number of Class 156, Class 158 and Class 170 diesel units.[27][28]

This Class 385's introduction was accompanied by various timetable changes. One prominent service change was the widespread use of eight-coach trains on the Edinburgh to Glasgow main line, which necessitated the completion of platform extension work at Glasgow Queen Street Station.[1] A total of 546 passengers can be seated on an eight-coach Class 385 trainset, which represents a 45 per cent increase in seating over the six-coach Class 170 DMUs that had previously operated this service prior to the route's electrification. By April 2020, the Class 385 fleet had reportedly accumulated 8.5 million miles (13.7 million kilometres), 727,000 miles (1,170,000 km) of which within a four-week window just prior to Christmas 2019.[1]

Unlike the majority of ScotRail's fleet, the Class 385 is maintained under a ten-year contract with Hitachi; under this arrangement, management is based at the company's central planning contract office in Glasgow while the work is performed at the Craigentinny train maintenance centre.[1] The fleet is actively monitored by a team of maintenance controllers and riding inspectors, there is a heavy emphasis on delay attribution and fleet performance metrics, particularly for reoccurring issues. The Class 385 incorporates Hitachi's Fleet Monitoring Tool, which is intended to consolidate data collection in real time and make relevant data readily accessible to various stakeholders, including ScotRail and Network Rail.[1] Each trainset is subject to a balanced examination system, under which such inspections occur every 40 days or 20,000 miles (32,000 km), although considerations towards greater condition-based maintenance have been made. Early issues with subsystems such as the brakes, door setup and speed control unit have been mostly resolved via software-based measures.[1]

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator Qty. Year built Cars per unit Unit nos.[29]
385/0 ScotRail 46 2015–2019 3 385001–385046
385/1 24 4 385101–385124


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shirres, David (3 April 2020). "Maintaining the 385s". Rail Engineer. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Milne, Andy (1 November 2017). "Building ScotRail's 385s". Rail Engineer. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b Iwasaki, Mitsuo; Furukawa, Kazuhiko; Okamoto, Kenji; Koreishi, Kazuto; Kaneyasu, Tadamasa; Kota, Yuichiro; Kawase, Kenji; Radford, Andy (2017). "Development of Class 385 Semi-customised/Standard Commuter Rolling Stock for Global Markets" (PDF). Hitachi Review. 66 (2): 102–108. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Hitachi to build ScotRail EMUs". Railway Gazette. 10 October 2014. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  5. ^ "ScotRail punctuality on the rise – but row over free travel". Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Electrification programme". Transport Scotland. Archived from the original on 11 October 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Shirres, David (24 July 2018). "Hitachi's Class 385s enters service". Rail Engineer. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ Clinnick, Richard (30 October 2015). "Hitachi's new Scottish EMU construction starts next month". Rail Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Kasado Works, Railway Systems Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd.: Environmental Activities: Hitachi". Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Abellio and Hitachi sign ScotRail train contract". Railway Gazette. 12 March 2015. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  11. ^ "ScotRail takes delivery of first new electric train". BBC News. 11 December 2016. Archived from the original on 12 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  12. ^ "AT200 for Scotland: 70 new trains for the upcoming ScotRail franchise". Hitachi Rail Europe. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Class 385 for Scotland | Hitachi Rail EU". Archived from the original on 17 May 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  14. ^ "ScotRail's delayed new trains not now expected until March". Archived from the original on 25 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Scotrail Franchise Agreement" (PDF). Transport Scotland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  16. ^ "ScotRail franchise to end in 2022". Railway Gazette International. 19 December 2019. Archived from the original on 25 December 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  17. ^ a b Shirres, David (26 March 2019). "Hitachi plans to run ScotRail Class 385 EMUs beyond the wires". Rail Engineer. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  18. ^ "UK disruption continues over withdrawal of Hitachi trains for safety checks". 12 May 2021. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Hitachi unveils new commuter train design". 22 July 2014. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Safety worry over new ScotRail trains". BBC News. 12 February 2018. Archived from the original on 13 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Drivers of new ScotRail trains 'can't see signals'". Archived from the original on 13 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Fish bowl vision problem scuppers plans for new trains". Archived from the original on 13 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  23. ^ Strachan, Graeme. ""Deeply disappointing" delay to introduction of new hourly rail service for Broughty Ferry and Angus". Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  24. ^ Stacy, Mungo (7 February 2018). "On board ScotRail's new Class 385". Rail Engineer. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  25. ^ "New ScotRail trains taken out of service". BBC News. 5 October 2018. Archived from the original on 25 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  26. ^ The Railway Observer, March 2020. No. 1093, Volume 90. p. 171.
  27. ^ "Scotrail unveil £475m improvement plan". BBC News. 21 December 2015. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  28. ^ "BRAND New Trains To Feature In Inverclyde As 40-Year-Old Units Sidelined". Inverclyde Now. 10 May 2019. Archived from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2019. from 19 May, Class 314 units – which have attracted complaints from passengers over reliability and lack of facilities – are only scheduled to run on three early morning, Monday to Friday Gourock services ... New Class 385 trains will operate on some Gourock services.
  29. ^ Clinnick, Richard (February 2023). "A grand plan for Scotland's railways". Rail Express. No. 321. Horncastle: Mortons Media Group. p. 79. ISSN 1362-234X.

External links[edit]

Media related to British Rail Class 385 at Wikimedia Commons