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Greetings from Glasgow! After a convivial night in the city we’re ready to go judging again. We stayed in an Ibis in the city centre. It’s a nice hotel, but the views aren’t up to much!

There’s only one station to visit today before Paul C and I head off in different directions and I begin to wend my way back to Yorkshire. I’m not sure which way I’m going as it depends on the weather, which seems to be on an East-West divide today. There’s a few things I’d like to have a look at, so we’ll see. Scotland’s investing a lot of money in its rail network so there’s lots of changes to check out.

Right, we’re off…


Our first train of the day is a refurbished Scotrail Class 158 fitted with high-backed seats and plug/USB sockets.


We’ve completed out visit and I’m now back in Glasgow. We’ve only a handful of stations left to judge now but both of us agree this is the toughest year for us to judge so far as the standard of the entries is so high.

As I crossed the city from Central to Queen St I stopped to admire a fine old Glasgow tradition which is clearly thriving! I especially like the stash of spare cones.



I hung around Glasgow for a little while getting pictures before catching one of Scotrail’s brand new Hitachi built Class 385 EMU’s to Edinburgh. The Scotrail Twitter account was more than happy to let me know which services the pair that are in traffic were working, so here I am.

First impressions are good. We’re currently bowling along to Falkirk High and I’ve my laptop set up, plugged into the between seat power socket and connected to the onboard wifi. I’m in the front car of the second set. The acceleration of these trains is certainly good. The internal ambience isn’t bad either. The lighting’s not too bright, the seats are comfortable and the tables are large and certainly sturdy. Legroom in the airline seats is good and the seatback tables are solid, with a useful lip around the edge (with a depression for a cup to stop it sliding). There are a couple of things I’ve noticed. The toilet’s out of order in my vehicle (444104) and there’s a whistling noise from the door seals when we’re at speed. The suspension seems a tad harsh too. The PIS is a bit basic compared to the Siemens Class 700/707 too, it’s a simple, scrolling dot-matrix system that tells you the time and what station you’re arriving at next, plus your final destination. I do like the seat moquette on the priority seats adjacent to the doors. They have a different motif which feature pregnant women and those with children, the elderly and folks with injuries! Signage is good, although the seat numbers (which are displayed on the walls above the seats) are tiny and very difficult to see – even close up. If seat reservations will be used they’ll have to be the good old fashioned paper kind as there’s no electronic system provided.

I walked through into the leading set (385003) to see if there was any difference and noticed that the door whistling I’d noticed earlier was a one-off. This set was perfect. Looking around both sets I was impressed with the construction of the trains, they’re solid and well-made. I think they’re going to be a real hit with passengers.

Here’s a selection of pictures showing what the 385s look like from the inside.


A table bay of four. Note the slots in the top of the seats for paper reservation labels and the fact that (like nearly all modern trains) seats don’t align perfectly with windows. The seats have folding armrests and there’s a power socket (one between two) located just under the front of each pair.



Seating at the back of one of the driving cars in set 385104. There’s tip up seats on the opposite side by the toilet and the area’s designated as bicycle storage. Note the seat back tables for the airline seats.


There’s five tip-up seats in the bicycle storage area which is clearly marked as such.


One of the door areas in 385014. The door controls are at a height that anyone can use them. Note the difference in seat moquette. The seat to the left is designated as priority seating.


Imaginative moquette on priority seating gets the message across!



The vestibules are roomy and feature lots of curves rather than just straight lines. Beyond is the disabled access toilet.


Inside the disabled toilet, showing the features which include a baby changing table.


There’s space for two wheelchairs on the opposite side of the vestibule to the disabled access toilet. Note the tip back tables, power sockets and flip up companion seats.


Seats aren’t cantilevered off the body side, but there’s still plenty of space underneath. Note the position of the power socket.


Coathangers are an odd one. Not every seat seems to have one. Hitachi tell me that 2 are provided for every bay of 4, whilst airline seats have one each on the back of the seat in front. 


The number 15 is actually the seat number. I hope these are only temporary as – unlike the rest of the signage – they’re very poor, extremely difficult to see and aren’t self explanatory. Hitachi tell me that these are temporary and for reference by the engineers bedding in the trains.  

DG304291. 385104. Edinburgh Waverley. 31.7.18

385104 after arrival at Edinburgh. Note the difference in the two front windows…

DG304286. 385003. 385104. Edinburgh Waverley. 31.7.18

Spot the difference…