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Scotrail new logo.svg
380108 at Haymarket.jpg
Main area(s):Scotland
Other area(s):London, Watford, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle and Newcastle
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This article is about the Scottish rail network since 1983. For the present-day rail franchise in Scotland, see First ScotRail.
Scotrail new logo.svg
380108 at Haymarket.jpg
Main area(s):Scotland
Other area(s):London, Watford, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle and Newcastle

ScotRail has been the brand name used for all Scottish regional and commuter rail services, including some cross-border services, since 1983. Since 2008, It is the permanent name of the Scottish franchised rail services, regardless of the train operating company that operates them.


British Rail Class 47 named The Queen Mother in ScotRail livery in Cardiff Central in 1986.

British Railways[edit]

Main article: Regional Railways

The ScotRail brand was created by British Railways Scottish Region manager Chris Green in the mid 1980s[1] to provide a distinctive brand for the British Railways network in Scotland. The brand has developed and is still in use today.

National Express[edit]

The brand was adopted by National Express when it took over the franchise from British Railways during privatisation in 1997.

First Group[edit]

Main article: First ScotRail

When First Group became the franchisee in 17 October 2004, in line with other rail franchises it held, the brand was revised as First ScotRail, having outbid National Express. In September 2008, the Scottish Government agency, Transport Scotland, announced that the franchised Scottish rail services would be permanently renamed ScotRail.


When ScotRail was created by BR, services were operated by a variety of diesel locomotives and coaching stock together with diesel and electric multiple units. Prior to the introduction of Class 156 and Class 158 DMUs by British Rail, services were operated by slam-door stock such as the Class 101 DMUs. The slam door DMU were replaced by Class 156 from 1987 to 1989 and Class 158 units from 1989 to 1992.

As the first franchisee, National Express ordered a total of 55 Class 170 units from 1999-2004 (First would receive the last of the units ordered by National Express and would later transfer four units from its Hull Trains subsidiary) and by 2004, the only slam door services were also the only locomotive hauled services, the Caledonian Sleeper services from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William along with a single regional service between Edinburgh Waverley and North Berwick.

First ScotRail have since leased Class 322 electric multiple units to run between Edinburgh and North Berwick, subsequently replaced by part of the fleet of Class 380, the remainder of which operate on the Ayrshire Coast Line and Inverclyde Line.

ScotRail, since privatisation, has contracted EWS to haul the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Scotland. EWS operate a dedicated pool of five Class 90 electric locomotives to haul the Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston and Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, together with a fleet of Class 67 diesel locomotives to haul the various sleeper portions north of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Class 37 diesel locomotives were used in place of the Class 67 locomotives, primarily on the West Highland Line, an arrangement which continued under First Group through to 2006.

Current fleet[edit]

ClassImageTypeTop speedBuilt
Class 156 Super Sprinter156457 at Oban.jpgDiesel multiple unit751201987–1989
Class 158 Express SprinterFirst ScotRail 158709 2005-06-17 01.jpgDiesel multiple unit901451989–1992
Class 170 TurbostarSpt 170476 glasgow.jpgDiesel multiple unit1001601999-2004
Class 314British Rail Class 314.jpgElectric multiple unit751201979
Class 318British Rail Class 318 at Gourock.jpgElectric multiple unit901451986-1987
Class 320SPT320s Helensburgh.JPGElectric multiple unit901451990
Class 334 JuniperBritish Rail Class 334 005.jpgElectric multiple unit901451999-2002
Class 380380108 at Haymarket.jpgElectric multiple unit1001612009-2011
Mk 2 CoachScotRail Mk2 coach at Euston.jpgPassenger rolling stock1001601969–1974
Mk 3 Coach (Sleepers)Fort William sleeper.jpgPassenger rolling stock125

(80 to 100 in service)


(130 to 160 in service)


Past fleet[edit]

ClassImageTypeTop speedBuiltWithdrawn
Class 101101692 at Arley.JPGDiesel multiple unit701121956–19602003
Class 150 Sprinter150262 at Cardiff Central.JPGDiesel multiple unit751201984–19872005
Class 303 Blue Train14.06.83 Milngavie 303.016 (6076992180).jpgElectric multiple unit751201959–19612002
Class 305Scotrail 305501 at Edinburgh Waverly.jpgElectric multiple unit7512019602001
Class 311 Blue Train311104 at a station.jpgElectric multiple unit7512019671999


Regional Railways ScotRail branding on Mark 2 coach number 5174 at the Northampton & Lamport Railway on 26 January 2008
Transitional First ScotRail branding (First logo on the National Express colours) on 156457 at Oban on 25 June 2005
Saltire style ScotRail branding 314212 at Lyoncross on the 23 July 2011


ScotRail, under BR, used customised versions of the existing British Rail liveries, with passenger locomotives and coaching stock painted in a lightly modified version of the InterCity Executive livery. The red stripe was replaced with a saltire blue stripe, and the InterCity name was replaced with the ScotRail name. Diesel and Electric multiple units carried normal versions of the Regional Railways livery. In the SPT area, rolling stock (DMU and EMU) was painted in Strathclyde Orange.

National Express[edit]

The first unique ScotRail livery was introduced shortly after privatisation under National Express, who introduced their own livery. Initially, vehicles received the new ScotRail logo applied with vinyl stickers; a stylised outline of Scotland composed of three flashes in the corporate colours of green, red and purple. Multiple units were painted into the new livery with bodies in white (lower half) and purple (upper half) with green, red and white stripes bordering the purple, overlain by and a wide diagonal white band in the centre of the carriage. There were no units left with Regional Railways livery in Scotland at the end of the National Express franchise period, although the Class 305 electric units retained it until withdrawal in 2001. The latter were replaced by ex-Stansted Skytrain Class 322 units which were never repainted under the National Express franchise, receiving only ScotRail logo transfers. When the Class 322 hire ended in 2004, they were replaced on the North Berwick branch by EWS Class 90 electric locomotives hauling former Virgin Trains Mk.3 coaching stock, in the old Virgin red and grey livery, again with ScotRail logo transfers.


When First originally acquired the franchise, a new regional livery of pink, grey and purple and a new logo of a pink circle and an italicised "f" character was introduced. Legislation requiring train doors to be painted in a contrasting colour to the body for visually impaired passengers resulted in white doors with a pink stripe. Like National Express, First applied their logo on units by transfer until repainting. A large number of units were re-branded into this livery, including the Class 322 units re-acquired (and refurbished) for North Berwick service and the Class 90 locomotives used on Caledonian Sleeper services.

Transport Scotland[edit]

The SNP government and Transport Scotland have come up with a new livery which will be applied to all of Scotland's trains, when they go into maintenance. The new livery is dark blue background, with grey doors and a white dotted 'Saltire' Scottish flag. A new logo is also applied, ScotRail, with the tag line 'Scotland's Railway'. Stations and staff uniforms are also getting a new look - dark blue. This livery is not going to be replaced when the franchise ends, the only branding showing the operator will be a small "ScotRail is operated by" sign on the station building and on the train doors.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stewart, Valerie and Chadwick, Vivian (1987). Changing Trains: messages for management from the ScotRail challenge. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8870-3. 
  2. ^ Rail issue 602

External links[edit]