ScotRail (brand)

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Rèile na h-Alba
ScotRail logo.svg
380108 at Haymarket.jpg
Main area(s) Scotland
Other area(s) Northern England
Stations called at354 operated [1]

ScotRail (Scottish Gaelic : Rèile na h-Alba) has been the brand name used for all Scottish regional and commuter rail services, including some cross-border services, since September 1983, as well as many of the country's intercity services.


Since 2008, it is the permanent name of the Scottish commuter rail service, regardless of the train operating company that operates it. The ScotRail service was re-nationalised on 1 April 2022. [2]


Regional Railways ScotRail branding Scotrail NLR 260108 d.adkins.jpg
Regional Railways ScotRail branding
ScotRail (National Express) liveried 156450 at Hexham station in October 2004 156450 at Hexham.JPG
ScotRail (National Express) liveried 156450 at Hexham station in October 2004
Regional Railways 1991 logo BRScotRail.svg
Regional Railways 1991 logo
ScotRail (National Express) emblem ScotRail (National Express) logo.svg
ScotRail (National Express) emblem
Saltire style ScotRail branding on a Mark 2 carriage at Haymarket in July 2016 Haymarket - Abellio Mk2f 5965.JPG
Saltire style ScotRail branding on a Mark 2 carriage at Haymarket in July 2016

British Rail

The ScotRail brand was created by British Railways Scottish Region manager Chris Green in the mid 1980s [3] to provide a distinctive brand for the rail network in Scotland. The brand has developed and is still in use today.

ScotRail, under British Rail, used customised versions of the existing 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. Most diesel locomotives carried standard InterCity Executive livery, but with ScotRail branding. Diesel and electric multiple units carried normal versions of the Regional Railways livery. In the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport area, rolling stock (DMUs and EMUs) was painted in Strathclyde orange and black.

National Express

The brand was adopted by National Express when it took over the franchise from British Rail during privatisation in 1997. [4] The first unique ScotRail livery was introduced shortly after privatisation under National Express, who introduced its own livery. Initially, vehicles received the new ScotRail logo applied with vinyl stickers; a stylised outline of Scotland composed of three flashes in colours of green, red and purple. [5]

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 English Welsh & Scottish Class 90 electric locomotives hauling former Virgin Trains West Coast Mark 3 coaching stock, in the old Virgin red and grey livery, again with ScotRail logo transfers. [6]


When FirstGroup became the franchisee on 17 October 2004, in line with other rail franchises it held, the brand was revised as First ScotRail. [7] [8]

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.

In September 2008 the Scottish Government agency, Transport Scotland, announced that the franchised Scottish rail services would be permanently renamed ScotRail. [9] [10] Transport Scotland designed with a new livery of dark blue background, with grey doors and a white dotted 'Saltire' Scottish flag. A new logo was also applied, ScotRail, with the tagline 'Scotland's Railway', which on some units is replaced with the Scottish Gaelic translation 'Rèile na h-Alba'. Stations and staff uniforms were also given a new dark blue look. This livery is not 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. [11] When next tendered in 2015, the franchise was split with the Caledonian Sleeper becoming a separate franchise. [12] On 1 April 2015, the ScotRail franchise was taken over by Abellio ScotRail while the Caledonian Sleeper service was taken over by Serco.


From 1 April 2015 to 1 April 2022, ScotRail was operated by Abellio. [13] This franchise ended on the 31 March 2022. [14]

Scottish Government

On 1 April 2022, a Scottish Government-owned operator of last resort took over operation of the ScotRail service, maintaining the ScotRail brand. [15]

Great British Railways

The UK Government plans to bring railway services in the UK under a single national brand by 2023 known as Great British Railways. Railway services in Scotland are planned to use GBR's branding, albeit with a "regional variant", with the plan emphasising the need for a unified brand to display the railway as one network. It remains unclear what direct impact the GBR brand will have on the ScotRail brand. [16]

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">ScotRail (British Rail)</span>

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  1. "ScotRail: Key Statistics - Table 2.10" (PDF). Office of Rail & Road. 9 July 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  2. "Scotland's train operator ScotRail to be nationalised". BBC News. 18 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  3. Stewart, Valerie & Chadwick, Vivian (1987). Changing Trains: messages for management from the ScotRail challenge. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN   0-7153-8870-3.
  4. "National Express pledges new trains for ScotRail" Rail issue 300 12 March 1997 page 14
  5. ScotRail launces new Class 158 livery The Railway Magazine issue 1175 March 1999 page 11
  6. Loco-hauled to Blackpool and North Berwick The Railway Magazine issue 1233 January 2004 page 9
  7. FirstGroup clinches Scottish rail franchise The Daily Telegraph 12 June 2004
  8. First Welcomes Award of ScotRail Franchise Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine First ScotRail 11 June 2004
  9. ScotRail 25th Anniversary Publicity Materials Archived 9 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine Transport Scotland
  10. Dalton, Alastair (23 September 2008). "ScotRail marks birthday with Saltire look". The Scotsman . Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  11. New livery for ScotRail launched Today's Railways UK issue 83 November 2008 page 9
  12. Scotland to split Sleepers from next ScotRail franchise Rail issue 700 11 July 2012 page 8
  13. Quality and more trains key to Abellio's SR franchise Rail issue 760 29 October 2014 page 10
  14. Abellio's ScotRail franchise to end early in 2022 The Railway Magazine issue 1426 January 2020 page 9
  15. ScotRail to be Nationalised Rail Express issue 300 May 2021 page 6
  16. "Great British Railways: Williams-Shapps plan for rail". . Department for Transport. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.