Published at 21:56 on Saturday 5th May 2018
Tags: Class 385, Hitachi, Scotland

Hitachi Class 385s Nos. 385104 and 385103 pass Craigentinny, while on a Dunbar - Edinburgh commissioning run on 13th February Mark Baldwin

Hitachi has confirmed that the situation with the ScotRail Class 385s continues to be ongoing.

There is a suggestion that a solution to the problem, in the form of a redesigned windscreen, may be the way forward, but the project team are currently in the process of obtaining agreement from all parties, including ScotRail, the Rail Regulator, drivers and unions, before moving forward. When agreement has been reached, one unit is to be modified and tested on the network before agreement for modifying the rest of the fleet is given.

While there was speculation that the units would all return to Newton Aycliffe for the work to be undertaken, the complex and busy workload at the factory means that an alternative site has been sought, and as a result, the modification programme will be undertaken at Springburn Works in Glasgow. Hitachi has not been able to confirm whether the windscreen replacement will be undertaken by its own staff at Glasgow, or whether Knorr-Bremise will be contracted to undertaken the project.

Many rumours have circulated in and out of the industry in recent weeks, with some suggestions that a complete redesign of the front end would be required. Hitachi says that is not the case, and that it is expected that the new design of windscreen will be agreed and be all that is required. There are no dates for the work to commence as yet, and consequently no suggestion of when the trains will finally enter passenger service.

While the build programme continues at Newton Aycliffe, there are currently eight Class 385s in Scotland that are fitted out ready to enter service once the modification and driver training programmes, testing and commissioning are completed. The first four pre-series sets that have been undertaking much of the evaluation and testing programme are now being moved to Tees Dock for shipment to Italy. These four were all delivered without interiors and while the original plan for these sets to be 'fitted out' at Newton Aycliffe, because of the project delays, the facility is now at a different stage in the manufacturing process and it is not possible to just 'slot' the units into the production line. Therefore they are being moved to Hitachi's plant in Pristoria, Italy, where they will be cleaned and fitted-out with the standard passenger interior before returning in the Autumn, ready to enter service.

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