Home Opinion ScotRail HSTs: Don’t let the truth spoil a good headline

ScotRail HSTs: Don’t let the truth spoil a good headline

A reporter from the Scottish Sunday Mail called me last week. He had seen my recent Rail Engineer feature on ScotRail’s ‘new’ HST and wanted my comments for a piece he wished to write about these trains.

Transport Scotland had undertaken a consultation exercise to find out what the Scots wanted from their trains, to which the answer, for those travelling to Aberdeen and Inverness, was an East Coast HST, the requirement for an ‘HST equivalent’ had been written into the ScotRail franchise specification to which franchise winner, Abellio, responded with a commitment to provide HSTs. The work being done to provide refurbished HSTs is impressive.

When I researched my feature, I had been impressed so, when speaking to the reporter, I waxed lyrical about the benefits of these refurbished trains and explained why their age was not an issue, which he seemed to accept. He sent me an email to confirm that my positive quotes had been correctly recorded, and I was left thinking that his piece would be an upbeat item about these refurbished trains.

How wrong could I be? ‘Laughing stock – ScotRail order 40-year old InterCity 125s’ was the headline for the article. Yet two-thirds of the article consisted on my faithfully recorded positive quotes with further comment from ScotRail and Transport Scotland explaining the benefits of these trains.

The only negative comment was from Manuel Cortes, leader of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, whose quote ‘You wouldn’t expect the police to drive a Rover 2000 and call it high powered today’ was featured in bold type.

Whilst it is perhaps a regrettable truth that such knocking copy sells newspapers, Manuel Cortes’ comments are disappointing. It is true that the rail industry is not perfect and it is right for Unions to highlight issues. However, rubbishing a good news project on which some of his members will be working doesn’t help the industry.

ScotRail’s ‘new’ HSTs will provide 40 per cent more seats on their intercity routes, which will no doubt soon be filled. Abellio is giving Scotland’s train passengers what they want. What’s not to like?

Written by David Shirres, Rail Engineer Editor

23 COMMENTS

  1. Welcome to the huge bias the media have against the Scottish Govt and anything they may be involved in. ScotRail has to be the most scrutinised (unjustifiably) rail service in the UK thanks to the press. Only get worse if the Scottish Govt decide to take it over from Abellio with their clause and newly devolved powers to do so.

  2. Welcome to the huge bias the media have against the Scottish Govt and anything they may be involved in. ScotRail has to be the most scrutinised (unjustifiably) rail service in the UK thanks to the press. Will only get worse if the Scottish Govt decide to take it over from Abellio with their clause and newly devolved powers to do so.

  3. The non electrified routes get refurbished 40 year old trains. Glasgow to Edinburgh gets brand new freshly built trains since it’s been electrified. What was/is wrong with using some of the 380 stock they have which are still relatively new, especially in comparison with the 170 turbo star, hell its newer than the voyagers that cross country use, if getting newly refurbished hst style trains why not get ones that are newer like the voyager and not 40 year old 125’s
    Scotrail could have saved money by getting more 380’s for the central belt and actually invest in more upto date diesel trains for the non electrified routes. Once again those not in the central belt get shafted with old stock while the Edinburgh Glasgow route gets brand new. Before you ask I live in Glasgow but just cannot stand the neglect of the northern routes which are in desperate need of investment and bias towards the much smaller and shorter central belt which has seen far more investment than needed.

    • Understand your point about lack of rail investment north of central belt. However, please read both articles to understand why age isn’t an issue for these HSTs and why they are what passengers want. Would suggest very few would prefer a Voyager to an HSTs.
      Re- new EMUs, There’s no evidence to suggest that class 380 would have been cheaper than 385s especially as capital cost is only around 30% of whole life costs.

    • No, absolutely not. I do NOT want voyagers or their ilk, I want proper InterCity trains, and am very much looking forward to HSTs on the northern routes. The HST has been the most popular train of its type ever since introduction.

    • Nooooo!!! Not Voyagers. Definitely not. Cheap, poorly built trains that are really only suitable for short inter-urban journeys, not the long-distance services they are misused on in the UK. Underfloor trains are just the end on long distance journeys – won’t get folk out of their cars.

  4. Seems it’s not only Donald Trump whose the victim of fake news

    The RAF are still flying Tornado GR4s over the skies in Syria dropping bombs on ISIS and they’re not that much younger than the old classic HST reliable intercity 125s pushed into use in Scotland.

    So talking Trump is R E gonna grab The Scottish Sunday Mail by the P…sy and show its gots some balls and go to the Press Complaints Commission. Afterall it was set up by Lord Justice Leveson to maintain the highest standards in journalism and protect the privacy of the individual and the sordid antics of lefty celebs.

    An independant Scotland EU State (now there’s a contradiction LOL without pound notes bigger LOL)
    Sturgeon better get use importing second hand English infrastructure the EU won’t Pay for it.

  5. Seems it’s not only Donald Trump whose the victim of fake news

    The RAF are still flying Tornado GR4s over the skies in Syria dropping bombs on ISIS and they’re not that much younger than the old classic HST reliable intercity 125s pushed into use in Scotland.

    So talking Trump is R E gonna grab The Scottish Sunday Mail by the P…sy and show its gots some balls and go to the Press Complaints Commission. Afterall it was set up by Lord Justice Leveson to maintain the highest standards in journalism and protect the privacy of the individual and the sordid antics of lefty celebs.

    An independant Scotland EU State (now there’s a contradiction LOL without pound notes bigger LOL)
    Talking old trains ,Sturgeon better get use importing second hand English infrastructure the EU won’t Pay for it.

  6. Of the UK’s 7 nuclear submarines 4 are getting on a bit; built in 1977 the Trafalgar class subs are 40 years old! But they’re definitely nothing to do with the SNP, so give them a free pass Sunday Mail!

  7. The reporter would NOThave written the headline – that’s the job of the Sub-Ed, who skims the text and tries to have a funny headline.
    You got the name of the paper wrong…. it’s the Sunday Mail – the English one is the Mail on Sunday (Scottish edition).

  8. I think it’s a great idea to cascade the Class 43 HST’s to Scotland but some might still remain in England and Wales could also allow to use the HST’s on the North Wales line to/from Manchester.

  9. The people asked wanted a proper first class for their oil funded trips north, not hst’s. Most of these trips are cut now that the arse has supposedly dropped out of north sea oil but we will have overly expensive and heavy polluting trains running for years now.
    With so many new hybrid trains available an investment in these and future infrastructure has been badly missed here.
    Take off the rose tinted specs of old rail and step into the future

  10. The problem with 125 train sets on the lines in north of Scotland is track geometry. The carriages in my opinion are too long for the curves so the journey will be uncomfortable just like Exeter to Plymouth is currently in same trains

  11. This is the first serious investment in the Aberdeen – Inverness line for over 40 years.
    Westminster government has been lax in its attention to the North of Scotland. The Scottish Government meanwhile has been far more pro-active in developing and expanding our public transport network. Well done to them!

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