ScotRail announces plans to decarbonize fleet by 2035

2 min read

ScotRail Trains (SRT) has announced plans to replace 65% of its train fleet by 2035 and therefore decarbonize its entire train fleet helping the Scottish Government deliver a key milestone in transitioning Scotland to a net zero economy.

Details of ScotRail’s New Trains Procurement Program were revealed in a public contract notice issued by SRT, which is currently seeking legal advice services for the SRT project team managing the design, manufacture, testing, commissioning, and approvals process of the new trains’ contracts.

According to the notice, nine of SRT’s 11 sub fleets of trains currently operated will be replaced as leases expire and it becomes uneconomical to life extend trains for continued operation. All existing diesel trains will be withdrawn and replaced with new trains powered by overhead electric wires, batteries, or hydrogen.

As well as eliminating carbon emissions from passenger rail services in Scotland, this will transform SRT’s customer offer improving journey comfort, accessibility, and reliability.

SRT also revealed that it will reduce operating costs and improve the consistency of offer to customers by consolidating the number of different sub fleets it operates from the existing 11 to, ideally, five.

This transformation will be delivered through three procurement competitions:

Phase 1 2022-23: ScotRail will procure a new fleet of suburban trains which will enter passenger service between 2027 and 2030. These trains will connect local communities with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, and Aberdeen.

Phase 2 2024-25 (indicative): ScotRail will procure a new fleet of trains for its rural routes.

Phase 3 2025-26 (indicative): ScotRail will procure a new fleet of intercity trains to connect the central belt with Aberdeen and Inverness.

SRT is currently seeking legal advice services to support it in running efficient and compliant procurement competitions which deliver trains that meet its customer, technical and operational requirements whilst providing value for money for the taxpayer.

According to SRT, value for money extends beyond the capital and operating cost of the new trains to include the economic and societal benefits which can be delivered for local communities and businesses through such significant investment from the Scottish Government.

Ensuring the new trains are constructed in a manner which minimizes the impact on the environment will also be a key factor in delivering a successful sustainable procurement, ScotRail noted.

The first phase of the new trains program will be to procure a new fleet of suburban electric and battery electric multiple units (EMU and BEMU). Including options, the suburban procurement is envisaged to cover around 120 units comprising around 550 vehicles. “We envisage the minimum core order being 64 units and 295 vehicles,” SRT wrote in the notice.

The scope of the procurement will also include maintenance services – tenderers will be required to submit options for both a Technical Services Agreement and Technical Support and Spares Supply Agreement and a decision on the route which provides best overall value for money will be taken prior to contract award.

Upgrades will be required to maintenance depot and servicing and stabling facilities, SRT said. These are likely to be delivered by SRT partners in Network Rail, but it plans to investigate during the procurement if there is benefit in works being delivered by the train manufacturer and maintainer.

Following contract awards on the suburban trains’ procurement it is envisaged that the team will move onto developing and delivering procurements for the rural and intercity fleets.

More details on the public contract notice can be found here: ScotRail Trains.