Bike train

Highland adventures are going to be easier to achieve later this year with the introduction of these incredibly stylish ScotRail trains.  

Five trains are being transformed to look this awesome and to carry a further 20 bikes (adding to current capacity of 6) to enhance existing services on the West Highland Line, initially.

The trains will have custom designed racks to accommodate bikes, sporting equipment and large items of luggage as well as more seats for customers.

Quiet roads, land rover tracks, open hill, singletrack, river crossings, bothies….the possibilities will be endless.  With all Covid related restrictions going to plan, the trains will go to Oban this year and Fort William next May, taking in some well known landscapes along the way between Oban, the Islands, Glen Etive, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, Rannoch, Corour... pretty impressive huh, linking the West Coast and its Islands right into the heart of Scotland for many looking for adventures.

We were super excited to hear these plans progressing having been involved in the initial stages of the project. The Boss even went to the factory and fed into the design consultations!

Recently the Boss and Ruari ‘virtually’ met with Abelio ScotRail and are working up plans to integrate this new opportunity into the Highland Bike Plan

We are sure that the introduction of the trains later this year will be a welcome boost to tourism in the Highlands, post COVID. We are keen to try it out as soon as possible and will keep you all posted with developments.

ScotRail press release:-

ScotRail has unveiled the livery design for its first active travel carriage, designated for carrying bikes and large sporting equipment on one of Scotland’s most scenic routes.

Designed by Scottish artist, Peter McDermott, the eye-catching livery depicts typical Highland scenery along with some of the best-known visible landmarks along the West Highland Line, including the Glenfinnan monument and viaduct, Skye Cuillin mountain range, Ben Lomond, and the castle on Loch Awe.

Five Class 153 trains are being transformed to carry up to 20 bikes to enhance existing ScotRail services on the West Highland Line initially, providing custom designed racks to accommodate bikes, sporting equipment and large items of luggage as well as more seats for customers.

The trains will also support winter sports in Scotland during the winter months, accommodating large bulky items such as ski bags and rucksacks, and undergoing a full interior and exterior refresh including installation of free WiFi, at seat power sockets and a refurbished toilet with controlled emission toilet (CET) tank.

The first carriage is due for completion later this year when the refurbishment programme can fully resume following the current Coronavirus pandemic, and will enter service once staff can be safely trained on the carriages.

Tom Smith, ScotRail Project Manager, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to share the exterior design of our first active travel carriage.

“Peter McDermott’s eye-catching design pays real homage to the beautiful and tranquil West Highland Line.

“We’re living in uncertain times, but when these carriages are eventually introduced, it will be a welcome boost for cyclists and those in search of outdoor pursuits along Scotland’s most scenic railways.”

Peter McDermott, artist and designer of ScotRail’s Class 153 livery, said:

"It was a great pleasure to have been asked to produce this illustration. Particularly as my own illustrative style is directly inspired by such artists as Norman Wilkinson and Tom Purvis, who among others, were responsible for the much-loved railway art of the 1930s and 40s."

"Their work was confined to train compartments and poster hoardings, but fortunately for me I’ve had the unique opportunity to work on a much larger canvas, which now allows this iconic illustrative style to travel through, and contribute to the very landscape we’ve all sought to interpret."

"I hope they would be as delighted as I am with the end result."

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said:

“It is exciting to see the finalised design for these Class 153 carriages, one which incorporates the beauty of the Scottish landscape whilst clearly promoting their active travel purpose. This comes as a result of close collaboration between the artist Peter McDermott and ScotRail.

“We look forward to seeing what are sure to become iconic carriages enter passenger service in the future, once we have reached more certain times in our current phased exit from COVID-19 lockdown.”