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17 October 2004–2014
Main Region(s):Scotland
Other Region(s):Cumbria
Newcastle upon Tyne
Fleet size:309
Stations operated:341
Passenger km 2007/8:2503.8 million
Route km operated:3032.0
National Rail abbreviation:SR
Parent company:First Group

ScotRail Railways Ltd (company number SC185018) is the FirstGroup train operating company running domestic passenger trains within Scotland and the cross-border Caledonian Sleeper service to London using the brand ScotRail which is the property of the Scottish Government.[1] The service was initially operated as First ScotRail but was rebranded ScotRail: Scotland's Railway in September 2008.

The ScotRail brand was originally used for services provided in Scotland by British Rail. After privatisation, the Scottish rail franchise was called ScotRail. On 17 October 2004, the franchise was transferred to First Group from National Express resulting in the rebranding from ScotRail to First ScotRail.[2] This was the first time the franchise has been re-let since the privatisation of British Rail. The Scottish franchises are now controlled by the Scottish Government but on this occasion was dealt with by the Strategic Rail Authority as its agent.

2008 rebrand[]

File:First ScotRail.jpg

First ScotRail logo (2004-2008)

In September 2008 the Scottish Government's agency Transport Scotland announced that all First ScotRail trains, including those in the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, would be repainted in a new blue livery with white Saltire markings on the carriage ends.[3] The services will rebranded with less emphasis on the "First" and will be marketed as "ScotRail: Scotland's Railway".[4] The first unit to receive the new livery was 170434, unveiled at Glasgow Queen Street on 22 September 2008.


File:Scotland rail map.png

The principal rail lines of Scotland

The ScotRail network is a mixture of long-distance, commuter and rural lines, totalling 1,696 miles (2,729 km), handling 66.1 million passenger journeys in 2003-4.

Main lines[]

Express trains operate between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee and Aberdeen. The Highland Main Line links Inverness to the south. Some stretches of main line, such as the Highland Main Line, are single track, and express trains must call at intermediate stations to permit trains coming in the opposite direction to pass.

The main lines of Scotland are:

  • Ayrshire Coast Line
  • Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line
  • Fife Circle Line
  • Glasgow-Edinburgh via Carstairs Line
  • Glasgow-Edinburgh via Falkirk Line
  • Glasgow to Aberdeen Line
  • Glasgow South Western Line
  • Highland Main Line
  • Tay Coast Line


See also: Transport in Glasgow

The densest part of the network is the suburban network around Glasgow, with 183 stations, the second-largest suburban rail network in the UK, after London. Much of it is 25 kV AC electrified. Glasgow’s main terminal stations are Central and Queen Street stations. ScotRail operate trains in this area under the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) brand. However, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport no longer has any input into specifying rail services in the Glasgow area. DMUs and EMUs that are livered in the carmine and cream livery are being stripped of the Strathclyde logos.[5] Lines in and around Glasgow are:

The North Clyde Line will eventually be linked to the Edinburgh-Bathgate Line (see Edinburgh, below) when the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link is completed, creating a new direct link between Glasgow and Edinburgh. There is also a proposal to create a new rail link across the city with the Crossrail Glasgow project.



The Forth Bridge in 2004

See also: Transport in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s suburban network is less dense than Glasgow’s. Edinburgh’s main station is Waverley. The main railway line through the city centre runs in a cutting immediately below Edinburgh Castle. A secondary station is at Haymarket in the west of the city. Railway lines running north from Edinburgh to Fife and the Highlands cross the Firth of Forth via the Forth Bridge. Lines in and around Edinburgh are:

The Edinburgh rail network is being expanded with the construction of the Waverley Line to the Borders, and the Edinburgh-Bathgate Line will be extended by the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link. A project to open a rail link to Edinburgh Airport was cancelled in September 2007 by the Scottish Government in favour of construction of a station at nearby Gogar which will connect with the Edinburgh tram network to take passengers to the terminal.[7] A proposal to re-open the Edinburgh suburban railway line has been made by campaigning groups.[8]

Rural lines[]

File:West Highland Line looking north from Rannoch station 02.jpg

The West Highland Line at Rannoch station

File:First ScotRail Class 170.JPG

A Class 170 Turbostar train in First ScotRail livery at Inverness

Rural lines include the scenic West Highland Line, Kyle Line and Far North Line. These lines carry more passengers, mostly tourists, during the summer months, but provide a valuable link and social service during the winter months.

Many rural lines are single track. Trains terminating at the coastal towns of Oban, Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh connect with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to islands including such as Skye, Mull and Lewis.

Corrour railway station, an isolated stop on Rannoch Moor on the West Highland Line, featured as a location in the 1996 film Trainspotting.

The rural lines are:

InterCity and Sleeper services[]

Main article: Caledonian Sleeper

ScotRail operates some services that venture south of the border: principally the Caledonian Sleeper to London Euston along the West Coast Main Line, and a twice-daily cross-country service between Newcastle upon Tyne and Stranraer via Carlisle and Kilmarnock.


The majority of Scotland’s 340 passenger stations are operated by ScotRail under Network Rail ownership. Glasgow Prestwick Airport station is owned and operated by the airport, Dunbar is operated by East Coast, and Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central by Network Rail itself. ScotRail operates Lockerbie railway station but none of its services call there.

Rolling stock[]

Current fleet[]

File:Class 156 - DMU - (2).jpg

A Class 156 Sprinter train in the new 'Saltire' ScotRail livery

The diesel fleet comprises a mixture of Class 156 Super Sprinter and Class 158 Express Sprinter units inherited from British Rail, and Class 170 Turbostar sets acquired post-privatisation. Eight Class 158s are subleased from Northern Rail, which are set to be returned in December 2010 when Northern Rail's sublease for three Class 180 units (from National Express East Coast) expires.

The electric fleet includes Class 314, Class 318, Class 320, Class 322 and Class 334 Juniper units. All of the EMU fleet are currently receiving C4 overhaul.

The Scotland-Euston overnight services comprise ex-InterCity Mark 2 and Mark 3 sleeper coaches, hauled by DB Schenker locomotives. In 2006, ScotRail came to an agreement with DB Schenker to use a small dedicated fleet of Class 90 locomotives between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow. This fleet is painted in ScotRail livery with a small DB Schenker logo beneath the cab.

During 2005, the Edinburgh-North Berwick line services were operated by EWS Class 90 electric locomotives with former Virgin Trains Mark 3 coaches. In late 2005, Class 322 units were reintroduced onto the line. These units were all refurbished and repainted into the First ScotRail livery.

The previous operator of the Scottish franchise (National Express - ScotRail) used Class 101 diesel units and Class 303 electric units, but these had all been withdrawn prior to First ScotRail taking over the franchise.

ScotRail has also operated Class 150 diesel units, but these have transferred to other operators following deliveries of new trains.

Following the new timetable, ScotRail has been running a DB Schenker Class 67 along with their Mk2 carriages on the Fife Circle on the most intense services allowing Class 158s and 170s to work elsewhere.

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 67 100px Diesel locomotive 125 200 Hired from DB Schenker Fife Circle Line
Caledonian Sleeper
Class 90 100px Electric locomotive 110 177 Hired from DB Schenker Caledonian Sleeper 1987–1990
Class 156 Super Sprinter 100px Diesel multiple unit 75 120 48 West Highland Line
Glasgow South Western Line
Paisley Canal Line
Whifflet Line
Shotts Line
Croy Line
Bathgate Line
Edinburgh Crossrail
Maryhill Line
Cumbernauld Line
Class 158 Express Sprinter 100px Diesel multiple unit 90 145 46 Glasgow to Edinburgh via Falkirk Line
Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line
Highland Main Line
Croy Line
Aberdeen to Inverness Line
Kyle of Lochalsh Line
Far North Line
Edinburgh Crossrail
Edinburgh to Bathgate Line
Edinburgh to Dunblane Line
Fife Circle Line
Shotts Line
Maryhill Line
Cumbernauld Line
Class 170 Turbostar 100px Diesel multiple unit 100 161 59 Glasgow to Edinburgh via Falkirk Line
Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line
Highland Main Line
Fife Circle Line
Edinburgh Crossrail
Edinburgh to Bathgate Line
Edinburgh to Dunblane Line
Croy Line
Maryhill Line
Cumbernauld Line
Tay Coast Line
Class 314 100px Electric multiple unit 75 121 16 Cathcart Circle Lines
Inverclyde Line
Class 318 100px Electric multiple unit 90 145 21 Ayrshire Coast Line
Inverclyde Line
Argyle Line
North Clyde Line
Class 320 100px Electric multiple unit 75 121 22 North Clyde Line 1990
Class 322 100px Electric multiple unit 100 160 5 Glasgow to Edinburgh via Carstairs Line
North Berwick Line
Class 334 Juniper 100px Electric multiple unit 90 145 40 Ayrshire Coast Line
Inverclyde Line
North Clyde Line
Argyle Line
Mark 2 Coach 100px Passenger Coach 100 160 22 Caledonian Sleeper
Fife Circle Line
Mark 3 Coach 100px Passenger Coach 125 200 53 Caledonian Sleeper 1975–1988
Sleeper Coach

Future fleet[]

Transport Scotland have funded the acquisition of 38 Class 380 Siemens Desiro EMUs, to enter service from late 2010. These trains will operate Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire services, adding extra capacity and allowing the cascade of existing stock to the new Glasgow to Edinburgh services via the reopened Airdrie to Bathgate line.[9]

Class Image Type Cars per set Number Introduced Notes
Class 380 Desiro 100px Electric multiple unit 3 or 4 22 (3-car)
16 (4-car)
2010 Siemens Desiro family


Performance figures for National Express’s last quarter as franchise holder, July to September 2004, were:

Period % trains arriving within 5 mins of scheduled time Change
1Jul - Sep 2004 82.8% 2Down 4.2% on the same quarter the previous year
1Jul - Sep 2004 84.2% 1Down 1.0% on the previous year as a whole

Performance figures for First Group’s first quarter as franchise holder, October to December 2004, were:

Period % trains arriving within 5 mins of scheduled time Change
1Oct - Dec 2004 79.8% 2Down 1.9% on the same quarter the previous year
1Oct - Dec 2004 83.7% 1Down 0.5% on the previous year as a whole

First Group started operating the franchise on 17 October 2004.

The performance figures released by the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) are as follows:

Period % trains arriving within
5 mins of scheduled time
(over three months)
Change over
same quarter the previous year
% trains arriving within
5 mins of scheduled time
Moving Annual Average (MAA)
Change over
previous year as a whole
01Apr - Jun 2007[10] 91.4% 2Up 0.8% 89.0% 2Up 0.2%
02Jul - Sep 2007[11] 93.0% 2Up 2.2% 89.6% 2Up 0.7%
03Oct - Dec 2007[12] 87.3% 2Up 2.8% 90.1% 2Up 0.6%
04Jan - Mar 2008[13] 90.5% 2Up 2.0% 90.6% 2Up 0.6%
05Apr - Jun 2008[14] 93.6% 2Up 2.4% 91.1% 2Up 0.6%
06Jul - Sep 2008[15] 92.8% 2Down 0.2% 91.0% 2Up 0.4%
07Oct - Dec 2008[16] 86.5% 2Down 0.9% 90.9% 2Up 0.3%
08Jan - Mar 2009[17] 89.6% 2Down 1.0%> 90.6% 2Down 0.3%
09Apr - Jun 2009[18] 93.0% 2Down 0.6% 90.5% 2Down 0.1%
10Jul - Sep 2009[19] 93.5% 2Up 0.9% 90.7% 2Up 0.2%
11Oct - Dec 2009[20] 86.7% 2Up 0.2% 90.7% 2Unchanged
12Jan - Mar 2010[21] 89.5% 2Down 0.1% 90.7% 2Unchanged


  • The percentage change figures are not the actual increases in % but the percentage increase in the % value.
  • These values are very similar to the sector performance level.


In June 2009 a report by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport revealed passenger figures from ScotRail contain 7.2 million more passenger journeys than were actually made.[22] Transport Scotland said this gross overestimate did not affect the decision to extend the franchise. (The franchise having been extended under controversial conditions in 2008.)[23]

See also[]


  1. Railways Act 2005
  2. Template:Cite news
  5. Today's Railways Issue 81
  6. 6.0 6.1 Airdrie-Bathgate rail link
  7. Template:Cite news
  8. Capital Rail Action Group website
  9. Scotland orders Desiro fleet. Railway Gazette International (July 11, 2008).
  10. ORR Statistics for Q1 2007/08
  11. ORR Statistics for Q2 2007/08
  12. ORR Statistics for Q3 2007/08
  13. ORR Statistics for Q4 2007/08
  14. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends, (2008), p. 22
  15. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends, (2009), p. 5
  16. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends, (2009), p. 5
  17. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends, (2009), p. 24
  18. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends, (2009), p. 5
  19. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends, (2010), p. 5
  20. Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends. ORR.
  21. National Rail Trends Chapter 2. ORR.
  22. Template:Cite news
  23. Template:Cite news

External links[]

Template:Commons category

Preceded by
Operator of ScotRail franchise
2004 — present

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