First ScotRail - A

First ScotRail - A
First ScotRail was a train operating company in Scotland owned by FirstGroup which operated the ScotRail franchise from October 2004 until March 2015. Prior to October 2004, trains were run by ScotRail (National Express). First ScotRail was succeeded by Abellio ScotRail on 1 April 2015.
First ScotRail operated most commuter and long-distance services within Scotland, and some services to northern England, as well as the Caledonian Sleeper to London. Of FirstGroup's four train operating companies, ScotRail was the second largest (in terms of number of passenger journeys 2013–14) after First Great Western at the time of the termination of its franchise.
First ScotRail History
From March 1997 until October 2004, National Express operated the ScotRail franchise, as ScotRail.
In July 2003, the Scottish Executive and the Strategic Rail Authority announced Arriva, FirstGroup and National Express had been shortlisted to bid for the new franchise. In June 2004, the franchise was awarded to FirstGroup, with the services operated by ScotRail transferring to First ScotRail on 17 October 2004.
On 1 January 2006, Transport Scotland was created to carry out the Scottish Executive's transport responsibilities including its then newly devolved powers over rail franchising.
In April 2008, Transport Scotland granted First ScotRail a three-year franchise extension until November 2014.
In September 2008, Transport Scotland announced that all First ScotRail trains, including those previously operated on behalf of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, would be repainted in a new blue livery with white saltire markings on the carriage ends.
The rebranding put less emphasis on the First and is marketed as "ScotRail: Scotland's Railway". The first unit to receive the new livery was 170434, unveiled at Glasgow Queen Street on 22 September 2008.
On 8 October 2014, First ScotRail confirmed its bid to retain the franchise had been unsuccessful and that the franchise transferred to Abellio ScotRail on 1 April 2015.
On the evening of 31 March 2015, the Caledonian Sleeper services were split into a new franchise, operated by Serco.
First ScotRail Network
First ScotRail Main Lines
Express trains operated between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee and Aberdeen. The Highland Main Line links Inverness to the south. Some stretches of main line, such as the Highland Main Line, are single track, and express trains must call at intermediate stations to permit trains coming in the opposite direction to pass.
The main lines of Scotland are:
  • Ayrshire Coast Line
  • Dundee–Aberdeen line
  • Edinburgh–Dundee line
  • Fife Circle Line
  • Glasgow–Edinburgh via Carstairs line
  • Glasgow–Edinburgh via Falkirk line
  • Glasgow–Dundee line
  • Glasgow South Western Line
  • Highland Main Line
First ScotRail Glasgow
The densest part of the network was the suburban network around Glasgow, with 183 stations, the second-largest suburban rail network in the UK, after London. Much of it is 25 kV AC electrified. Glasgow’s main terminal stations are Central and Queen Street stations. ScotRail operated trains in this area under the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) brand.
However, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport no longer has any input into specifying rail services in the Glasgow area. DMUs and EMUs that were liveried in the carmine and cream livery were stripped of the Strathclyde logos.
First ScotRail Lines in and around Glasgow were:
  • Argyle Line
  • Ayrshire Coast Line
  • Cathcart Circle Lines
  • Croy Line
  • Cumbernauld Line
  • Inverclyde Line
  • Maryhill Line
  • Motherwell–Cumbernauld line
  • North Clyde Line (extended to Cumbernauld & Edinburgh)
  • Paisley Canal line
  • Shotts Line
  • Glasgow South Western Line
  • Whifflet Line (incorporated into the Argyle Line)
The North Clyde Line is now linked to the Edinburgh-Bathgate Line (see Edinburgh, below) with the completion of the Airdrie–Bathgate rail link, creating a new direct link between Glasgow and Edinburgh. There is also a proposal to create a new rail link across the city with the Crossrail Glasgow project.
First ScotRail Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s suburban network is less dense than Glasgow’s. Edinburgh’s main station is Waverley. The main railway line through the city centre runs in a cutting immediately below Edinburgh Castle. A secondary station is at Haymarket in the west of the city. Railway lines running north from Edinburgh to Fife and the Highlands cross the Firth of Forth via the Forth Bridge. Lines in and around Edinburgh were:
  • Edinburgh–Bathgate line (incorporated into the North Clyde Line)
  • Edinburgh Crossrail
  • Edinburgh–Dunblane line
  • North Berwick Line
  • Shotts Line
  • Edinburgh–Dundee line
The Edinburgh rail network is being expanded with the construction of the Waverley Line to the Borders, and the Edinburgh–Bathgate Line has been extended by the Airdrie–Bathgate rail link. A project to open a rail link to Edinburgh Airport was cancelled in September 2007 by the Scottish Government in favour of construction of a station at nearby Gogar which will connect with the Edinburgh tram network to take passengers to the terminal. A proposal to re-open the Edinburgh suburban railway line has been made by campaigning groups.
First ScotRail Rural Lines
Rural lines include the scenic West Highland Line, Kyle of Lochalsh line and Far North Line. These lines carried more passengers, mostly tourists, during the summer months, but provided a valuable link and social service during the winter months.
Many rural lines are single track. Trains terminating at the coastal towns of Oban and Mallaig connected with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to Skye, Colonsay, Lismore, Islay and the Outer Hebrides and Inner Hebrides.
First ScotRail The Rural Lines Were:
  • Aberdeen–Inverness line
  • Far North Line
  • Kyle of Lochalsh line
  • West Highland Line
First ScotRail InterCity & Sleeper Services
First ScotRail operated some services that ventured south of the border: principally the Caledonian Sleeper to London Euston along the West Coast Main Line, and a three times daily cross-country service between Newcastle upon Tyne and Glasgow Central via Carlisle and Kilmarnock.
First ScotRail Performance
Performance figures for National Express’s last quarter as franchise holder, July to September 2004, were:
Period % trains arriving within 5 mins of scheduled time Change
  • Jul - Sep 2004 82.8%     Down 4.2% on the same quarter the previous year
  • Jul - Sep 2004 84.2%     Down 1.0% on the previous year as a whole
Performance figures for FirstGroup’s first quarter as franchise holder, October to December 2004, were:
Period % trains arriving within 5 mins of scheduled time Change
  • Oct - Dec 2004 79.8%     Down 1.9% on the same quarter the previous year
  • Oct - Dec 2004 83.7%     Down 0.5% on the previous year as a whole
FirstGroup started operating the franchise on 17 October 2004.
The performance figures released by the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) are as follows:
% trains arriving within
5 mins of scheduled time
(over three months)
Change over
same quarter the previous year
% trains arriving within
5 mins of scheduled time
Moving Annual Average (MAA)
Change over
previous year as a whole
Apr - Jun 2007 91.4% Up 0.8% 89.0% Up 0.2%
Jul - Sep 2007 93.0% Up 2.2% 89.6% Up 0.7%
Oct - Dec 2007 87.3% Up 2.8% 90.1% Up 0.6%
Jan - Mar 2008 90.5% Up 2.0% 90.6% Up 0.6%
Apr - Jun 2008 93.6% Up 2.4% 91.1% Up 0.6%
Jul - Sep 2008 92.8% Down 0.2% 91.0% Up 0.4%
Oct - Dec 2008 86.5% Down 0.9% 90.9% Up 0.3%
Jan - Mar 2009 89.6% Down 1.0%> 90.6% Down 0.3%
Apr - Jun 2009 93.0% Down 0.6% 90.5% Down 0.1%
Jul - Sep 2009 93.5% Up 0.9% 90.7% Up 0.2%
Oct - Dec 2009 86.7% Up 0.2% 90.7% Unchanged
Jan - Mar 2010 89.5% Down 0.1% 90.7% Unchanged
Jul - Sep 2010 94.5% Up 1.1% 91.4% Up 0.8%
Oct - Dec 2010 78.4% Down 9.6% 92.9% Up 2.4%
Jan - Mar 2011 89.1% Down 0.0% 90.1% Down 0.0%


First ScotRail Note:
The percentage change figures are not the actual increases in % but the percentage increase in the % value.
These values are very similar to the sector performance level.
First ScotRail Controversy
In June 2009 a report by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport revealed passenger figures from ScotRail contain 7.2 million more passenger journeys than were actually made. Transport Scotland said this gross overestimate did not affect the decision to extend the franchise (the franchise having been extended under controversial conditions in 2008).
First ScotRail Overview
First ScotRail Franchise(s): ScotRail
17 October 2004 – 31 March 2015
First ScotRail Main Region(s): Scotland
First ScotRail Other Region(s): North West England
North East England
Fleet Size: 311
First ScotRail Stations Operated: 344
First ScotRail Parent Company: FirstGroup
First ScotRail Reporting Mark: SR
First ScotRail Predecessor: ScotRail (National Express)
First ScotRail Successor: Abellio ScotRail
Caledonian Sleeper
First ScotRail Technical Length: 3,032.0 km (1,884.0 mi)
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