ScotRail has announced a boost for customers in South Lanarkshire, with more seats to be made available for the increasingly popular East Kilbride and Barrhead services.
Additional Class 156 trains will be provided during the morning and evening between Glasgow Central and East Kilbride / Barrhead from May 2019.
Train services on these routes have seen significant passenger growth in recent years:
More than 3 million customers travelled on the East Kilbride route last year – an increase of 0.9 million in nine years
More than 1.8 million customers travelled on the Barrhead and Kilmarnock route – an increase of 0.8 million since track and signalling improvements were completed in 2009
Transport Scotland has supported the extra seats for customers through additional funding – this will mean more four carriage trains (each with 284 seats) to and from Barrhead at peak times, and the majority of trains to and from East Kilbride with six carriages (436 seats).
The extra seats will be introduced when the electrification projects across the Central Belt complete, and ScotRail receives enough of its brand-new Hitachi Class 385 trains. The Class 156 trains will be refurbished during 2019.
As part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing investment in Scotland’s railway, Network Rail are also in the early stages of developing a range of options for a programme of enhancements to the East Kilbride line, with the aim of providing additional capacity and supporting future service enhancements.
ScotRail Head of Business Development Scott Prentice said:
“This is a fantastic boost for our customers in South Lanarkshire and is the first phase of the larger Scottish Government project to enhance the railway to East Kilbride and Barrhead.
“These routes are showing continual growth and I am delighted that we will be able to make such significant improvements for our customers.”
Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said:
“We’ve worked closely with ScotRail to secure extended leases of four c156 refurbished trains until the end of the franchise. From May, this will enable all peak services on the East Kilbride route to operate as six-cars and more four-cars to run on the Barrhead line allowing more passengers to choose rail travel.”
“This is the first step of improvements for this route and is just one example of how we are alleviating over-crowding on our trains. As more new trains enter the fleet to free up existing rolling stock, we will be able to roll out similar steps on other routes up and down the country.”