Faster trains, more seats and better services are promised on the Edinburgh to Glasgow line from tomorrow, with the arrival of long-awaited new Hitachi class 385 electric trains.
The new trains - ten months late - will also serve the Glasgow to Falkirk Grahamston via Cumbernauld route, among others across the central belt.
They will account for more than a quarter of services on the route, and are part of Scotrail’s £475million investment in new rolling stock, which follows the £858million electrification of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow by Network Rail.
However passengers are set to be hit with a 3,6 per cent fares rise from January - a move which has sparked anger from commuters.
Key elements of the overall investment plan include “significantly” upgrded stations on the Edinburgh-Glasgow route, including a major revamp of Glasgow’s Queen Street station which won’t be completed until 2020.
ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said of the new trains: “This is another important step forward for ScotRail and I am delighted that more customers will now be able to travel on our brand-new Hitachi class 385 electric trains.
“We are committed to building the best railway Scotland has ever had and this investment will help to deliver that.
“These trains will benefit customers all across the country, as they will allow us to move trains currently running between Edinburgh and Glasgow out across the network.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson (Falkirk West MSP) said: “The introduction of more of the new fleet of C385 electric trains will provide extra seats and allow more passengers to enjoy the modern facilities on board between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“The Scottish Government’s on-going commitment to Scotland’s railways is making a real difference and the continuing programme of electrification across the Central Belt will enable more people to use the new trains, which have already proved to be very popular.
“I know that Hitachi and ScotRail staff are continuing to work hard to deliver the remainder of the fleet which, when they come into service, will help increase overall seating capacity by more than 23 per cent across the Scottish network.”
Other improvements include upgraded waiting rooms along the route - now described as “lounges” - with a mix of sofas (Linlithgow only) padded chairs, and softer lighting.
An additional 11 ticket machines have been installed at Croy, Falkirk High, Polmont, and Linlithgow, customer information screens have been improved.