Little extras don’t add up to a whole lot...
Gordon Casely, journalist and rail campaigner gives his opinion
Let’s give two cheers for Abellio ScotRail’s introduction of 125s.
In due course, they’ll replace the existing trains covering our Inter-City routes – and not before time either.
Existing trains are suburban carriages never designed for what should be Scotland’s premier services. Experienced travellers point to them as the poorest-quality longdistance rolling stock in Europe.
With four decades of operation behind them, these 100mph 125s are indeed vintage, but they were designed and built to highest standards half-a-century ago.
They’ve been well maintained and wondrously re-engineered throughout their long and glorious lives. Above all, they’re comfortable and well-appointed, with space for legs and luggage. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in presenting these trains to us, Abellio is dumbing them down.
Their selling points of two toilets per carriage will be reduced to just one – an important point fluffed over yesterday by Abellio managing director Alex Hynes at the Aberdeen launch.
And when it comes to bikes spaces, Abellio jousts with words.
Yes, the four spaces on existing trains rise to eight, but this apparent doubling bears a nasty sting in the tail. Six spaces are reserved solely for end-to-end journeys.
So passengers with bikes heading for Stirling and getting on at, say, Stonehaven will be limited to just two spaces.
That’s why I don’t give these outstanding trains the heartiest of welcomes.
For Abellio ScotRail took careful aim at the combined target of toilets and bike spaces.