ScotRail customers who love exploring Scotland by bike are seeing a huge increase in the number of cycle spaces on trains.
The aim is to encourage tourists, cycling fans, outdoor pursuits enthusiasts and local commuters to ditch the car and use the train to get them out into the open air to experience some of the country’s most beautiful areas.
In 2015, there were 932 spaces for cycles on ScotRail trains. Now, there are 1,406, a rise of 34 per cent.
And even more cycle spaces will be rolled out over the summer in 2022.
The last few months have seen an amazing acceleration of the project with 140 extra spaces being installed across the fleet of 70 Hitachi Class 385 electric trains.
It means that all ScotRail trains now have spaces for bikes and, by the end of August 2022, a further 100 spaces will have been installed on the train operator’s fleet of high-speed Inter7City trains bringing the overall total to 1,506.
This will be an increase of 574 spaces on the number available in 2015, a rise of 38 per cent.
As with most businesses, progress slowed for two years while the coronavirus pandemic was at its height, but this figure outstrips the commitment made in 2015 to increase the number of cycle spaces by 500.
And it will come only a year after the launch of ScotRail’s Highland Explorer service on the West Highland Line.
Working with Transport Scotland, cycling groups and outdoor specialists, the design team at ScotRail came up with an innovative solution to accommodate up to 20 cycles and bulky sports gear in a dedicated carriage which is a first of its kind for the UK rail network.
Here is a list of ScotRail’s train classes and the number of cycle spaces now available on each (previous totals in brackets).
- Class 153 – 100 (N/A in 2015).
- Class 156 – 258 (288 in 2015 when we operated five more Class 156 units).
- Class 158 – 320 (336 in 2015 when we operated eight more Class 158 units).
- Class 170 – 132 (232 in 2015 when we operated 50 more Class 170 units).
- Class 318 – 42 (0 in 2015).
- Class 320 – 68 (0 in 2015).
- Class 334 – 80 (0 in 2015).
- Class 380 – 76 (76 in 2015).
- Class 385 – 280 (N/A in 2015).
- Inter7City – 150 – from August 2022 (N/A in 2015 / 50 in 2018).
ScotRail has also joined forces with Sustrans Scotland, a charity that provides advice, support and funding making it easier for people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys, to produce a series of ‘How To’ videos, giving a step-by-step guide to using the new cycle spaces.
These videos are available on ScotRail’s website.
James Ledgerwood, Head of Economic Development and Communities, said:
“This is great news for everyone who uses a bike to get around Scotland.
“Whether it’s for work or for leisure these new cycle spaces will help even more people get out of cars and into the great outdoors and make a real difference if you want to travel in a more sustainable way.
“We promised that we would hugely increase the number of spaces on our trains, and despite the delay caused by coronavirus, we have delivered on that pledge.
“ScotRail is committed to improving cycling facilities at stations and on trains.”
Jenny Gilruth MSP, Transport Minister, said:
“I am delighted that extra cycle spaces are being made available on ScotRail trains. This is a wonderful chance for the people of Scotland to explore the country in a more accessible and integrated way. We are committed to increasing levels of cycling and walking for transport and leisure, and by offering additional cycle spaces on board trains we can help even more people get out of cars.
“The Highland Explorer carriage which launched on the West Highland Line last summer has proven to be a lead example for the type of innovative ideas which supports tourism and economic growth.
“I look forward to ScotRail delivering on further improvements which supports sustainable and active travel whilst also having a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the nation.”
John Lauder, Sustrans’ Deputy Chief Executive and Scotland Executive Director, is about to start an 18-month secondment working with Network Rail Scotland and ScotRail to lead on work developing a strategy and a delivery plan to make it easier to travel to railway stations sustainably.
John Lauder, Sustrans Deputy Chief Executive and Scotland Executive Director, said:
“This is an exciting time for sustainable transport and active travel in Scotland with the policy direction moving away from emphasis on private motoring, and towards public transport, shared mobility and active travel.
“Increasing the number of cycle spaces on trains is a key part of the process of making that change.
“Sustrans worked closely with ScotRail over the introduction of the Highland Explorer carriages which provide vastly increased cycle storage on services along the West Highland Line.
“The carriages are a great example of how we can work together to make walking, cycling and public transport more attractive and convenient options, giving people the opportunities to make more of their journeys without the need for a car.”