Helping out north of the border: training out on the line with Class 365s started in Scotland on 10 May. This is No 365523 arriving at Linlithgow on the first day, running as the 09.39 Glasgow Queen Street to Linlithgow Up Passenger Loop working, where it then reversed and returned to Queen Street at 10.22. Ian Lothian

SCOTRAIL IS leasing 10 Class 365 EMUs from Eversholt Rail to cover for delays in introduction of the new Hitachi Class 385 EMUs on services in the central belt.

The first ‘365s’ moved north from Ely in late April, where they were in storage following their withdrawal by Govia Thameslink Railway, to Shields depot. ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes told the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee the first ‘365’ would enter service in July.

The Class 385 EMUs were originally due to be introduced on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk route in December 2017, but issues with the curved design of windscreens in the driver’s cabs have delayed this (p84, last month).

This has left ScotRail short of rolling stock after the transfer of four Class 170s and two Class 158s to Northern, with six more ‘170s’ to follow in July and a further six in December.

Mr Hynes told the committee Hitachi has been working on an alternative design of the windscreen, which was being fitted in early May, and that a train would then be delivered to Scotland for testing. ‘The initial indications are that the new windscreen is much better than its predecessor, which will enable us to do a campaign of windscreen replacement’ he explained.

Mr Hynes added there are also software issues with the train, saying ‘We are reducing the number of outstanding software issues, so that the software is reliable enough to enter into passenger service. We expect to introduce the Hitachi trains in the coming months.’ Meanwhile, Mr Hynes also told the committee the refurbishment of HSTs to form 26 shortened sets for use on inter-city routes in Scotland had been ‘a challenge’. The work is being carried out by Wabtec at its Doncaster plant. The first set had been planned to enter service between Edinburgh and Aberdeen in May, ahead of the contractual target date of June. Mr Hynes said while he said he was not able to give a firm date his aspiration is for the first set to enter service in July.

Coming in the summer: short-formed HST at Lunan Bay Viaduct near Montrose forming the 15.06 Dundee to Aberdeen crew training service on 12 May 2018. Stuart Walker