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Landin in Scotland Scotland should welcome its second-hand trains - for they were built in the best days of public-sector innovation

TODAY ScotRail will introduce its “Happy Trains” between Edinburgh and Glasgow — given this nauseating name because of the modified frontage of the Class 365 stock, which resembles a smiley face.

These are trains built in the mid-1990s transferred from the ailing Govia Thameslink Railway, which has led some to accuse ScotRail of “spin” for boasting of the improvements they will bring.

The reality, however, is that as with most trains commissioned before privatisation, they are far superior to the carriages commissioned now.

Some years ago, I rode the 365s regularly between London and Cambridge. They were packed at peak time and rowdy on the notorious midnight train back from King’s Cross, but always offered comfortable seats and a smooth ride.

As the new Intercity Express Programme trains are rolled out on key intercity routes, commuters are destined to sit on glorified ironing boards with prime views of plastic panelling.

The silver lining is that Scotland gets the Intercity 125 stock, built from 1976, for its key routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh and Inverness and Aberdeen.

So be careful what you wish for. The “Happy Trains” are just a stop gap, but things can only get worse.


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