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12 March 2015, 07:10
Designs for the 70 new trains being built for the ScotRail fleet have been unveiled by the transport minister.
New ScotRail franchisee Abellio has signed the contract with Hitachi Rail Europe who will build the trains, which are said to be faster, quieter and longer than current models.
Dutch rail operator Abellio begins its ten-year ScotRail contract in April, when it will take over from current franchisee FirstGroup.
The deal for the new electric trains gives the Scottish Government the option to buy up the full fleet of the trains after 25 years for £1, securing the carriages for use in Scotland well beyond Abellio's 10-year contract.
The new trains will operate on Scotland's busiest route - the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High line - and on the Stirling-Alloa-Dunblane line and south Glasgow suburban routes.
Transport minister Derek Mackay said: "With the new ScotRail franchise, a number of impressive infrastructure projects and these slick new trains, we are giving Scotland a railway to be proud of.
"Abellio's winning bid for the ScotRail franchise included several exciting proposals and I look forward to seeing it all take shape from their takeover of the service in just a few weeks.
"Passengers will love using these new trains with many more seats, but the benefits go far beyond that.
"The use of electric trains on Scotland's busiest route will help reduce our carbon footprint.
"The improved journey times and connection can only be good for our two biggest cities. The innovative contract has reduced the cost of the finance, as well as guaranteeing a great deal for Scotland in the longer-term.
"This is real evidence of Scotland's railways being fit for the future.''
The deal will see 46 three-car and 24 four-car AT200 EMU units built, with the first tranche arriving in summer 2017 and coming into use later in the year after driver training is completed. The remainder will be introduced by early 2019.
The contract sees the Scottish Government guarantee the use of the trains on Scotland's rail network for at least 25 years and also comprises a 10-year maintenance deal, with plans currently in place to stable and service the trains at depots in Edinburgh.
Abellio chief executive Jeff Hoogesteger said: "This is an important deal for passengers and for Scotland.
"New trains for Scotland were a key feature in Abellio's bid for the franchise and we are excited to be pressing the button on the delivery programme.
"The arrival of 24 Hitachi AT200s by December 2017 and a further 46 by December 2018 will ensure that the full benefits of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme are realised for passengers; delivering faster journey times, greater capacity and higher service quality.
"The effects of the investment will spread much wider than that. The new trains will be more energy-efficient and innovations in design and lightweight construction will reduce the impact of services on important infrastructure.''
The first seven trains are scheduled to be built in Hitachi's Kasado factory in Japan, with the remaining 63 being assembled in the company's flagship train manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe in the north-east of England.
Jon Veitch, Hitachi Rail Europe's general manager for Scotland, said: "We are delighted to be signing this contract, which will see the supply of rolling stock and maintenance services for the new ScotRail franchise.
"This forms the start of a long-term partnership to boost passenger services in Scotland and we will be working closely with the operator to ensure that services are kept to a very high standard across this period.''