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ScotRail reveals striking livery for its bicycle carriages

Artwork on carriages that will accommodate 20 bikes is inspired by railway posters of the 1930s and 1940s

ScotRail has revealed a striking livery, inspired by railway posters of the 1930s and 1940s, for its forthcoming carriages that will have space for 20 bicycles on tourist routes in the West of Scotland.

In all, five carriages converted to carry bikes as well as bulky items including rucksacks and, in the winter, skiing and snowboarding equipment, are due to come into service on routes between Glasgow and Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.

The livery of the carriages has been designed by artist Peter McDermott, reports Scotland on Sunday.

It includes landmarks that can be seen from the train including the Glenfinnan Viaduct and Monument plus the Isle of Skye's Cullin mountain range, as well as a Highland cow and, of course, a pair of cyclists.

McDermott 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.

“That now allows this iconic illustrative style to travel through, and contribute to the very landscape we’ve all sought to interpret.”

Tom Smith, project manager at ScotRail, commented: “We’re delighted to be able to share the exterior design of our first active travel carriage.

“Peter McDermott’s design pays 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.”

ScotRail unveiled the interior design of the carriages, which are being fitted out at Brodie's in Kilmarnock, last October.

> ScotRail unveils forthcoming West Highland Line carriages with space for 20 bikes

Besides storage space for bikes and other equipment, they will also have seating areas with power sockets and Wi-Fi.

The customised carriages at aimed at reducing overcrowding on the popular routes as well as helping encourage cycle tourism, with a 2017 Scottish Government report saying it was looking at “introducing dedicated carriages for cycles and other outdoor sports equipment on rural routes in the north and west” of the country.

Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, which brings together ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland, commented: “We need to do everything we can to get back our rail market when the time is right.

“We have got some really exciting plans for cycle carriages which we’ll be rolling out later this year to build on the active travel boom. We recognise cyclists want to use the rail network more.

“Essentially, we’ll hook the carriages on to the back of trains. We will initially be using them on the West Highland Line, recognising the status of Fort William as the mountain biking capital of the UK. If that trial is successful, that’s something we can emulate in other parts of the network.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Oldfatgit | 4 years ago
1 like

"The customised carriages at aimed at reducing overcrowding on the popular routes"

But not on the commuter routes through the Central Belt. And these will make no difference to the day to day lives of inter-modal commuters and is purely to benefit the tourist.

Not one of these carrages will operate on the top 10 busiest trains (as per 2018)

alotronic | 4 years ago
1 like

"Essentially, we’ll hook the carriages on to the back of trains." 

Thereby making them, errr, the train.

David9694 | 4 years ago

train operating company re-discovers Guard's Van

relegated to a just few short heritage lines, the guard's van was, until its mysterious disappearance in the 1980s, a great place to convey bikes, buggies, surf boards and skis on trains. But now it's back...

Other TOCs please copy. 

brooksby replied to David9694 | 4 years ago

It also says a lot about modern train design that "a rucksack" is considered to be a large and bulky item which needs to be relegated to its own carriage.

eburtthebike | 4 years ago

This is a retrograde step which will take all the fun out of travelling by train with a bike, and is another nail in the coffin of our cherished heritage.

It will wipe out the sport of "hunt the bike cupboard" so beloved of the railway companies.  All that fun of asking the station staff where the bike carriage would be when the train pulls in, only to find that it's at the opposite end and you've got two minutes to find it and load your bike before the train pulls out, and you mustn't ride your bike, you have to push it.

Not only that, but what about the double booking of the two spaces on most trains, and the ensuing arguments about who's got priority.

I do feel someone should do something; an organised protest along the lines of BLM perhaps?

handlebarcam replied to eburtthebike | 4 years ago

Don't worry, this is only in Scotland, and only on a couple of lines. In England, you'll still be able to play "hunt the bike cupboard", and other similar games such as "train manager roulette" (is he a decent bloke or a cyclist-hating twat?) or the tautological "rail franchise monopoly" (in which all the chance cards say "do not take train, go home" because of rail replacement buses or a new rule that you need to book 24 hours in advance). Or the game of sardines which is rural Wales train services, with a single two-carriage sprinter train serving half the country.

essexian replied to handlebarcam | 4 years ago

And of course, you've managed to get on the train, find the space and found a spot to stand...there being no seats available, where you can see your bike. All good.

However...will there be anyone available at your destination station to let you off if you are travelling on West Coast (late Virgin) trains..... Twice now at Euston there has been no one available, while at Carlisle once I had to refuse to let the doors close with my bike still aboard.

Travelling by train is more stressful than cycling on the M6!

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