On yer bike!

Rail (UK) - - Contents - Philip Haigh Con­tribut­ing Writer [email protected]­me­dia.co.uk @phi­la­trail

ScotRail re­leases pic­tures show­ing how Class 153s could be con­verted to carry bi­cy­cles on West High­land trains.

SCOTRAIL’S plan to pro­vide Class 153 diesel units ded­i­cated to car­ry­ing bi­cy­cles on West High­land ser­vices took a step for­ward in Novem­ber, with the re­lease of a se­ries of pic­tures show­ing how the con­verted units could look.

In con­junc­tion with Trans­port Scot­land, ScotRail is ex­am­in­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of us­ing sev­eral of the sin­gle-car diesel units dis­placed from ser­vices in Eng­land. They are com­pat­i­ble with ScotRail’s Class 156 units that ply the line be­tween Glas­gow Queen Street and Fort William, Oban and Mal­laig. In sum­mer, these ser­vices are very busy with great de­mand to carry bikes.

ScotRail spokesman John Beaton stressed to RAIL that the project was in its early stages and that while the il­lus­tra­tions (used in an in­ter­nal brief­ing) showed how the Class 153s could look, their de­sign was not fi­nalised.

“We’re some way off the ten­der process,” he said, adding that there was no firm date for any en­try into ser­vice.

Pre­vi­ous Scot­tish trans­port min­is­ters have called for the bike coaches to be in ser­vice next sum­mer. ScotRail’s il­lus­tra­tions also show skis be­ing car­ried to give the Class 153s a win­ter role.

HITRANS Part­ner­ship Man­ager Frank Roach wel­comed the move - not just for the bike ca­pac­ity, but be­cause the Class 153s would add ex­tra seats and help re­lieve over­crowd­ing on Oban ser­vices, which cur­rently run as two-car trains to the West Coast port but would be strength­ened to three.

Roach sug­gested that the Class 153s could help ScotRail in­tro­duce scenic trains that cater for tourists, by us­ing the ex­tra seats the units would pro­vide. “It kills two birds with one stone,” he told RAIL.

Bri­tish Rail cre­ated 70 Class 153s in the early 1990s by split­ting twocar Class 155s (built by Ley­land in 1987-88) into in­de­pen­dent sin­gle­car units to use on qui­eter ser­vices. To­day North­ern, Great West­ern Rail­way, Trans­port for Wales, East Mid­lands Trains, West Mid­lands Rail­way and Greater An­glia use them.

SCOTRAIL.

ScotRail’s pro­posed Class 153 bike coaches could have space for 20 bikes and 24 seats. They can also carry win­ter sports equip­ment such as skis.

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