A New Standard Scottish EMU?

 I looked at a link I saw on a railways forum about the new AT200 electric multiple units planned for the Edinburgh to Glasgow line after electrification is complete. 

There was copies of slides that a group posted on their website, so I thought I’d take a look.

On the slide below 3xx is used for the proposed trains. They are compared to class 170 diesel powered units in use between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh  Waverley and are also compared to Scotrail’s class 380 electric multiple units introduced in 2010. 

  
 

 It’s to be expected that designs are improved after a bid is made for any rolling stock on the railway, but the specification looks to get closer to existing class 380 EMU’s currently in use on Inverclyde and Ayrshire line services. 

  

 
If you look closely at the images in the slides above, a couple are existing photos from class 380 units rather than visualisations.

Which then made me think well why go for Hitachi trains rather than reorder the Siemens built class 380 units?

  
 
Even the plans of the unit interiors are very similar to the existing 380.

The notable difference is the first class areas.

So add the external likeness, and I apologise if I’m using a copyright image to compare a 380 with the AT200. 

   
 

There really isn’t much in it and to my mind the Class 380 and AT200, whilst being different manufacturers and different in terms of initial design will look much the same and have very similar capacity and internal characteristics. 

An obvious point is that the main production run will be at a new Hitachi factory in the north east of England rather than being built in Germany as was the case for the class 380 units.

My next thought is whether they could operate together and if so, whether the intention is that Scotland has a large modern pool of electric trains capable of working most routes and with a set design to replace older rolling stock such as class 314 or 318.

It will be interesting to see once the AT200’s are built and come into fleet service. Will they be capable of attaching to a class 380 ?

Experience with the class 380’s was that on Inverclyde routes, the additional length of the 23 metre carriages meant that services are generally operated with 3 or 4 carriage units.

The Ayrshire routes use some 7 car multiples on peak services but for the majority of the time, the 4 carriage units can be sufficient and seems to give a similar capacity to a six carriage class 318 or 334. 

Whether a similar pattern will emerge on the EGIP routes will remain to be seen.

With the possibility of progressive electrification in Scotland to Dundee or Aberdeen, if the Class 380 template is a standard EMU for Scotland rather than a one off design by Siemens then both the operators and manufacturers of the units will know the requirement once additional units are required.

It may also make replacement of current EMU’s operating in Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire through the Glasgow low level lines an easier prospect.

All in all, a thought provoking read from some standard information provided to consultees.

I wonder if the BR Class number will be 382 though. It would be apt.

 

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