ScotRail Alliance drivers get gongs for going green

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Two ScotRail Alliance train drivers have received awards for environmentally-friendly driving.

Sandy Cairns, 49, and Willie Harland, 36, received the accolades for demonstrating their ability to drive trains safely and efficiently while minimising energy usage on the ScotRail Alliance’s state-of-the-art driving simulators.

The ScotRail Alliance has trained drivers in ‘eco-driving’ techniques for last decade as part of a move to reduce CO2 emissions. These techniques include taking advantage of natural gradients to ‘coast’ the train where possible.

The prizes were awarded by safety and sustainability director, David Lister, and Stewart Warner from simulator manufacturer Sydac.

The ScotRail Alliance has run the awards since 2009, with the top driver from each category – electric trains and diesel trains - being recognised for their energy-saving skills.

Willie, based at Glasgow Queen Street, said: “I’m thrilled to win this award. It’s good to know that you’re able to not only drive a train safely, but also be able to do so whilst helping the environment.”

His colleague, Sandy, who is based at Airdrie, added: “Winning the trophy is great. I’m proud of the work I do, and to know that you’re one of the best is just a great feeling.”

David Lister said: “We’re working hard to deliver a cleaner, greener railway for Scotland. Although we are already a low-carbon mode of transport, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact ever further.

“One way that we are doing this is through the Eco-driver awards, which encourages drivers to think about how to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment. It also providing the opportunity to recognise our drivers for the important work they do every single day.”


  • Drivers hone their techniques at the ScotRail Alliance’s simulator centre underneath Glasgow Central station, which was opened in 2006 following a £1million investment.
  • The centre houses two exact replicas of train cabs, which offer scenarios ranging from a Scottish winter to a train rounding a bend where a potential problem could lie ahead.
  • The simulators are used to assess drivers’ skills in safe environment, as well as giving new recruits hands-on experience of what they have learned in the classroom.