20/12/17 - 17122002 - SCOTRAIL   EDINBURGH WAVERLEY STATION - EDINBURGH   Launch of Body-worn CCTV CamerasThe ScotRail Alliance has invested £300,000 to make the railways even safer for customers and staff.

Over 300 body-worn CCTV cameras are being made available to frontline staff across the country. The devices can be clipped on to the staff member’s uniform, or worn on a lanyard, and are clearly marked as CCTV cameras.

The cameras are capable of recording video and audio in high definition continuously for up to eight hours. The cameras will capture footage when they are activated by a member of staff.

The roll out follows a successful trial, where staff found that people positively changed their behaviour when informed that they were being recorded. Footage from cameras worn by staff has also been used in a number of prosecutions.

The initiative has been delivered in partnership with Transport Scotland and trade unions ASLEF, RMT and TSSA. The aim of the role out is to continue to improve the safety of customers and staff, deter antisocial behaviour, and gather evidence when it does occur.

The devices are produced by Edinburgh-based Edesix, who have designed the cameras so that frontline staff require no specialist training in how to use them. Wearers of the devices have no access to the footage they record, which is downloaded automatically to a secure site.

Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance Managing Director, said:

“We are building the best railway that Scotland’s ever had, and a key part of that is continuing to improve the safety of our railway. The safety and security of our staff and customers is our priority.

“Anti-social behaviour will never be tolerated at our stations, or on our trains. These new cameras will improve everyone’s journey by deterring anti-social or criminal behaviour, and help with gathering vital evidence on the rare occasions when it does occur.”
Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to working with our industry partners to help build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“Part of this includes investing in measures to target unwelcome behaviour and introducing bodycams will play a role in that.

“Every worker has the absolute right to carry out their duties without the fear of verbal or physical assault, just as every passenger has the right to a safe journey.”
Chief Inspector Sue Maxwell from British Transport Police, said:

“We’re delighted that our colleagues in the ScotRail Alliance will soon be equipped with body worn cameras right across Scotland. In September, BTP rolled out body worn cameras to all our officers meaning that they have an independent witness by their side at every single incident.

“Body worn cameras allows officers to capture essential evidence, help protect officers from malicious complaints and can speed up the justice process. With ScotRail now using these cameras, we’re sure this is another great step towards making Scottish railways a safer place to travel.”

Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF District Organiser, said:

“As a union we welcome these additional body cameras, but we urge all rail passengers to respect rail workers at all times – not just at this festive time.”

Liz Warren-Corney, TSSA Scotland Organiser, said:

“TSSA’s raison d’etre is all about ensuring our members get home safely to their loved ones after a day at work.

“Keeping them safe keeps Scotland’s passengers safe, so we welcome anything that adds to the safety levels and welcome the body cams.”

New on-board food and drink services mean customers in the South of Scotland can now benefit from a warm beverage and a snack during their journey.

The ScotRail Alliance rolled out its at-seat catering service on trains between Dumfries and Carlisle for the first time this week.

Trains throughout the day will offer a menu of predominantly Scottish sourced goods, including:
• Hot drinks
• Light snacks
• Confectionery and cakes
• Soft drinks
• Beer, wine and spirits

Fifteen new hospitality stewards have been hired to support the roll out. The new staff are based at Carlisle and Glasgow Central station.

The introduction of the new food and drink service on the route follows the announcement of an additional 10 new services per day between Dumfries and Carlisle, providing an additional 1,500 extra seats per day to the region – which also came in to operation on Sunday 10 December.

Garry Clark, ScotRail Alliance Head of Customer Experience & Hospitality, said:

“We’re building the best railway this country has ever had – and that applies to all of Scotland.

“The introduction of our new food and drink service in the south is great news for those in the local community who use the railway, and is already proving very popular.

“We are making a major investment in the south of Scotland. Our new catering, the ten extra daily services, and the 1,500 extra seats for customers travelling between Dumfries and Carlisle, show our commitment to the region.

“We will continue to work closely with local communities, businesses and others to make the south of Scotland a great place to visit, work, live and study.”

10/12/17   LINLITHGOW  New class 380 Train pictured in LinlithgowCustomers travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Falkirk High will benefit from more seats from Sunday as electric trains run on that route for the first-time.

Following Network Rail’s electrification of the line, ScotRail will introduce Class 380 electric trains from its existing fleet from Sunday (10 December). The introduction of the electric trains comes as the ScotRail Alliance prepares to welcome brand-new Hitachi Class 385 trains next year.

Managing director Alex Hynes described it as “another key stage” in the ScotRail Alliance’s plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

The seven-carriage Class 380 electric trains to enter service on Sunday will provide customers with more seats, and some journeys will be faster between Scotland’s two largest cities.

Electric trains are better for the environment – producing 85 per cent fewer harmful CO2 emissions per seat than the diesel trains the Class 380s will replace.

The ScotRail Alliance’s new timetable also starts on Sunday and customers are being asked to take a minute to check their own journeys before travelling.

A dedicated webpage has been set up at scotrail.co.uk/newtimetable with further information on the changes.

Timetables can also be downloaded from the ScotRail website, and hard copies of the new timetable are available from all staffed stations.

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said:

“As we prepare for the arrival of our brand new Hitachi trains next year – which will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and better services – we will start running electric trains from our existing fleet between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Falkirk High.

“The running of these electric trains from our existing fleet is an important milestone ahead of the arrival of the brand-new Hitachi trains. It’s another key stage in our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“Being able to run some services with seven carriages will mean more seats for our customers, and we will also deliver some faster journey times.”

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, said:

“The introduction of electric services is a key milestone in the Edinburgh – Glasgow Improvement Programme and yet another sign that our £5bn investment to 2019 is helping build the best railway Scotland has ever had. It also paves the way for the arrival of our new fleet of class 385s, to be phased in over the coming months, offering passengers faster, greener and longer trains.

“I’d like to offer my personal thanks to all the many people who have worked on this significant electrification project as their efforts come to fruition.”

Extreme weather in the north of Scotland expected to arrive as a result of Storm Caroline means some train services will be suspended from the start of service on Thursday.

With the Met Office predicting wind speeds of up to 90 miles per hour, the following services will be suspended:

– Aberdeen to Inverness
– Inverness to Wick
– Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh
– Glasgow Queen Street to Oban/Fort William/Mallaig

A safety inspection will be carried out on these routes in the morning, and a further decision will be taken about when to resume services.

Speed restrictions will also be in place for services between Perth-Aberdeen and Perth-Inverness due to expected winds of up to 60 miles per hour. This means trains will be slower and services will be disrupted.

Tickets already purchased for a cancelled service will be eligible for use from today up to, and including, Monday. Customers who do not wish to travel, but have already purchased a ticket for an affected route, will be given a full refund.

Customers who wish to travel are advised to check their service in advance via @ScotRail on Twitter, or on the ScotRail app.

David Lister, Safety and Sustainability Director at the ScotRail Alliance, said:

“With the Met Office predicting wind speeds of up to 90 miles per hour, we have taken the decision to suspend some services from the start of service on Thursday. This isn’t a decision that we have taken lightly, but the safety and security of our staff and customers must come first.

“Our staff will be working round the clock to get services back to normal and get customers moving as soon as possible.

“Customers should keep up to date with the latest information by checking @ScotRail, the ScotRail app or the website.”

The ScotRail Alliance has set out its winter weather plans, as Storm Caroline prepares to hit Scotland in the coming days.

Winter can have a significant impact on the railway, with its effects ranging from speed restrictions on exposed routes, to services being suspended due to avalanches.

Winter weather can impact the railway in the following ways:
– High winds can blow objects on to the line, meaning trains have to travel slower to ensure they can safely stop short of any obstructions.
– Points (movable sections of track, allowing trains to move from one line to another) can freeze up, preventing trains from accessing certain routes or platforms.
– Extremely low temperatures can sometimes prevent train carriages from attaching, leading to fewer carriages on services.
– Up to three tons of snow can accumulate on the underside of trains. In the past trains have been damaged by snow and ice falling from the undercarriage and bouncing back up. Trains have to be removed from service for safety checks when this happens.
– Heavy rain can cause flooding and landslips. When these occur, trains have to be stopped until the line has been cleared, and a thorough safety inspection of the track carried out.
To limit the impact of winter weather on its service, the ScotRail Alliance will take the following actions:
– Specialist meteorologists will map weather events as they approach, allowing us to deploy chainsaw teams and engineers to where they’re most likely to be needed.
– Teams will work to identify and remove any potentially dead and dangerous trees, which could be blown over the tracks, before high winds arrive.
– A helicopter fitted with thermal imaging equipment will be used to highlight areas to engineers where cold weather could cause problems.
– A £1 million ‘winter train’ will be used to defrost points and other key parts of the railway affected by snow or ice. The train, which will be used across Scotland, features hot air blowers and heat-lances, which are used to thaw critical infrastructure and allow staff to reopen the line quicker.
– Ten snowplough trains will also be on standby.
– Engineers will be working 24/7 to prevent vulnerable infrastructure freezing in the first place, with some equipment being fitted with heaters.
– Maintenance depots are being fitted with heated polytunnels, high pressure hot water ‘jet washes’, and space heaters to reduce the time required to defrost trains, and get them back in service quicker.

If severe weather is expected, contingency timetables will be created and customers informed. ScotRail’s website and social media channels will have full details of any changes to the train service. A series of roadshows are also being held across the country to inform customers about what the ScotRail Alliance is doing to keep people on the move. The ScotRail Alliance will update customers later today with the expected impact of Storm Caroline.

ScotRail Alliance Infrastructure Director David Dickson said:

“Winter is a particularly challenging time for the railway – snow and ice can damage trains, and can prevent the supporting infrastructure from working correctly.

“People know from their own lives the impact winter weather can have, and that applies even more so to the railway.
“That’s why we have invested in specialist equipment, so that when bad weather strikes we can keep our customers moving.

“Our staff will be working flat out, night and day, to get customers where they need to be, while ensuring that the safety of our customers and staff remains our number one priority.

“We’ll keep our customers up-to-date with the latest travel information on the ScotRail app, our website, and our Twitter feed.”

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said:

“We are working closely with the ScotRail Alliance to ensure they are ready for the challenges winter will bring, including Storm Caroline. Passengers can be reassured every effort is being made to make Scotland’s railways as resilient as possible, from using technology to pinpoint potential problems to having snow ploughs at the ready.

“At the forefront of that effort are the scores of staff working round the clock in all kinds of challenging weather to keep trains moving. The ScotRail Alliance is doing all it can to minimise seasonal disruption as far as possible but some disruption is inevitable. We would ask passengers to play their part by checking all the available travel information in advance.”

High-speed trains (HSTs) connecting Scotland’s seven cities are another step closer as the ScotRail Alliance’s welcomed the arrival of its second train this week.

The high-speed train arrived in Edinburgh at the weekend and will be based in Haymarket, where it will be used for driver training between Edinburgh and Dundee ahead of the fleet being rolled out from May next year.

One carriage of the five-carriage train will be detached and used by engineering team at Haymarket for maintenance training.

This is the second train to arrive in Scotland, following the first train’s arrival in Aberdeen in September.

Once fully refurbished and in passenger service, the HSTs will connect Scotland’s seven cities.

Key features of the high-speed trains include:

  • More seats
  • Increased luggage space
  • Power sockets at seats
  • Enhanced on-board catering

ScotRail Alliance High-Speed Train Project Manager Chris Tait said:

“The weekend’s arrival of our second high-speed train in Edinburgh is another exciting milestone in our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“Our high-speed trains will provide more seats, better services and improved experience for our customers.

“Once fully refurbished, these trains will transform rail travel between Scotland’s seven cities – offering better connections for commuters and business travellers as well as providing fantastic opportunities for tourists to see more of our great country.

“The investment we are making in these high-speed trains is a clear sign of the ScotRail Alliance’s commitment to building a world class railway for the whole of Scotland.”

ScotRail Christmas train 1The ScotRail Alliance is getting into the holiday spirit with the launch of specially-branded Christmas trains.

The Christmas-themed design, featuring Santa, his reindeer and a snowman, replaces the usual ScotRail logos on the side of the train.
The first two Christmas trains were unveiled today, and can be seen on routes across Scotland. Three more will follow later this week.

It’s not the first time that the ScotRail Alliance’s ‘Saltire’ logo has been changed for a special event. In August the Saltire logo was dropped in favour of a rainbow version in support of Pride Glasgow, and last month the ScotRail Alliance highlighted its support for the Scottish Poppy appeal with specially-branded ‘Poppy trains’. The ScotRail Alliance also invited customers to ‘ride the ghost train’ with spooky designs on carriages in October.

Younger travellers are being encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for the ScotRail elves images, which will be hidden throughout the carriages from later in the week.

Syeda Ghufran, head of engineering projects at the ScotRail Alliance, said:
“With Christmas just a few weeks away we wanted to get into the holiday spirit with our Santa-themed trains.

“If any of our customers spot our elves hidden throughout the train, we hope they will share them on social media so that everybody can join in the fun.

“We’ll be doing all we can to get our customers where they want to be over the holidays. If they’re letting us do the driving home for Christmas, we encourage them to plan their journey now on the ScotRail app or at scotrail.co.uk.”

17/11/17 - Abellio Scotrail - 17111707.   WAVERLY STATION - EDINBURGH  L to R: Stephen McCall (Network Rail Project Manager), Iain McWhirter (Head of Fundraising and Volunteering at MND Scotland), Duncan Black (Son of Stephen Black), Alex Hynes (Managing Director of ScotRail Alliance), Stephen Black (MND Sufferer), Joe Pike (Husband of the late Gordon Aikman), Mary Black (Wife of Stephen Black) and Morag McGown (Corporate Partnerships Manager for MND Scotland).The ScotRail Alliance has already smashed its MND Scotland fundraising target for 2017/18 after just seven months.

The organisation raised £51,154 for charity partner MND Scotland between April and October this year – well ahead of the target of £50,000 by March 2018.

Almost half of the total was raised by ScotRail Alliance staff, who took part in a wide range of fundraising events – including a sponsored skydive, walking over hot coals, and a staff football tournament.

When the partnership between the ScotRail Alliance and MND Scotland was announced in March, a target of raising £150,000 over three years was set.

Collection tins have been placed at every station ticket office, and station and on-train advertising spaces have been given to the charity free of charge. MND Scotland staff have also been issued with free on-duty travel passes, reducing their overall travel costs.

To raise awareness of the disease, as well as MND Scotland’s work to find a cure, new advertising boards have been erected on the hoardings surrounding the site in Edinburgh Waverley, where work is currently ongoing to build and extend platforms.

The boards feature prominent MND campaigner Gordon Aikman, who passed away from the disease earlier this year. Gordon, originally from Kirkcaldy, raised over £600,000 for MND Scotland through his ‘Gordon’s Fightback’ campaign, which also managed to double the number specialist nurses for MND patients and ensure they were paid for through the NHS instead of charitable donations.

More money is expected to be raised next month, when a staff Christmas jumper day will be held in aid of the fight against motor neurone disease. ScotRail Alliance staff across the country are being encouraged to ‘do their bit in a festive knit’. Volunteers will be collecting donations in Inverness, Aberdeen, Haymarket, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street stations.

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said:
“MND Scotland is an absolutely fantastic organisation that is doing some great work to support motor neurone disease patients and their families, as well as working to find a cure.
“I’m exceptionally proud of how much we’ve managed to raise for MND Scotland in just seven short months. It’s important that we do all we can to raise awareness of this cruel disease, and keep up the fight for a cure.”

Joe Pike, husband of the late Gordon Aikman, who died from motor neurone disease in February, said:
“It is hugely impressive that the staff of ScotRail Alliance have raised so much so fast for MND Scotland.
“Every penny will go to helping those living with Motor Neurone Disease, as well as funding vital research, so we find a cure and others don’t have to go through what Gordon did.”

Morag McGown, Corporate Partnerships Manager from MND Scotland, said:
“I am truly grateful to every single ScotRail Alliance employee and customer who helped us reach this incredible target so early in our three year partnership.
“The funds raised are already making a huge difference to the lives of people affected by MND across Scotland and going towards MND research, which is vital to helping us on our journey to a cure.
“In addition, the awareness that has been raised amongst staff and commuters is fantastic – we need to ensure everyone in Scotland knows the life-changing impact MND has and what we can all do to make a difference.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their continued support and I’m looking forward to working together to hit our next target.”

Pictured: L to R: Stephen McCall (Network Rail Project Manager), Iain McWhirter (Head of Fundraising and Volunteering at MND Scotland), Duncan Black (Son of Stephen Black), Alex Hynes (Managing Director of ScotRail Alliance), Stephen Black (MND Sufferer), Joe Pike (Husband of the late Gordon Aikman), Mary Black (Wife of Stephen Black) and Morag McGown (Corporate Partnerships Manager for MND Scotland).

With Christmas less than a month away, the ScotRail Alliance has said it will do everything it can to keep people moving during the holidays.

Releasing details of train times for the Christmas and New Year period, the ScotRail Alliance encouraged customers to plan their journeys now. The last trains of the day will depart earlier than normal on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and there will be changes to train times over the Christmas and New Year period.

The ScotRail Alliance has set up a dedicated webpage to provide customers with information on train times over the holidays. The website can be viewed at scotrail.co.uk/Christmas.

Important details include:
– As with previous years, no trains will run on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.
– On Boxing Day a limited service will run in parts of the west of Scotland, and trains on some routes in and around Glasgow will be replaced by buses to allow major improvement works to take place. Signalling equipment and overhead power lines will be upgraded, and sections of track will also be replaced on the west coast mainline.
– All trains will run as normal between 27 and 30 December, with the exception of the Cumbernauld to Motherwell route, which is replaced by buses while improvement works take place.
– On Tuesday, 2 January a reduced service will be in place across much of the country, with trains starting from mid-morning.

Improvement works on the main route west from Edinburgh Waverley will be taking place:

• Edinburgh to Bathgate services will be replaced by buses
• Edinburgh to Dunblane services will start/terminate at Linlithgow instead of Edinburgh
• Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High services will be diverted

Graham Heald, the ScotRail Alliance’s head of customer experience, said:

“We will be working flat out to keep people moving during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

“But with many of our customers taking time off work to be with their loved ones, the network is quieter between Christmas and New Year. That means it’s an ideal time to carry out vital improvement works while causing as little disruption to our customers as possible.

“There will be changes to train times, so we encourage our customers to plan their journeys now on our app or at scotrail.co.uk.”

• New late night trains
• Extra carriages on Friday nights and weekends – providing almost 100,000 additional seats every weekend in the run-up to Christmas
• Customers encouraged to plan ahead

Customers across the central belt are set to benefit from extra services and more carriages in the run-up to Christmas.

With the Christmas party season soon to be in full swing, the ScotRail Alliance is putting on extra late-night services between Edinburgh and Glasgow for partygoers, departing late Friday night/in the early hours of Saturday morning from Friday, 24 November until Friday, 22 December.

The new services will call at Haymarket, Linlithgow, Polmont, Falkirk High, Croy, Lenzie and Bishopbriggs in both directions.

Extra carriages will also be added to our busiest services on key routes across the Central Belt every Friday night and during weekends until Christmas, beginning on Friday 24 November. This will result in almost 100,000 extra seats being added to services on Fridays and weekends.

With services expected to be busy, customers are advised to buy their ticket before they board – either on the ScotRail app, scotrail.co.uk, station ticket office, or ticket machine.

ScotRail Alliance head of customer experience Graham Heald said:
“We’re building the best railway Scotland has ever had, and a key part of this is keeping our customers moving as we head into Christmas.

“The run-up to Christmas is one of our busiest times of the year, so we’re doing all we can to get everyone where they want to be by adding extra services and more carriages.

“Whether customers are heading to the Christmas markets, a night out, or just picking up presents, we hope they have a great time – but we ask them to please double-check their last train times via the ScotRail app, or at scotrail.co.uk.”