British Rail Class 318

The British Rail Class 318 is an electric multiple-unit (EMU) passenger train, which operates in west central Scotland. The units were introduced on 29 September 1986 as part of the electrification of the Ayrshire Coast Line between Glasgow Central and Ayr/Ardrossan with alternating current (AC) overhead lines. Usage was extended to Largs in January 1987. They were also used on the Inverclyde Line in small numbers. The trains currently operate Argyle, Cathcart Circle Line, North Clyde Line and Inverclyde Line services. As of 2022, these are the oldest EMUs in Scotland, having been in revenue-earning service for 36 years.

British Rail Class 318
Hyndland - Abellio 318262 Cumbernauld service.JPG
ScotRail 318262 at Hyndland in 2016
318255 Interior.jpg
The interior of a ScotRail refurbished Class 318
In service1986–present
ManufacturerBritish Rail Engineering Limited
Built atHolgate Road carriage works
Family nameBR Second Generation (Mark 3)
ReplacedFirst Generation DMUs
Number built21
  • 3 cars per unit
Fleet numbers318250–318270
Train length59.58 m (195 ft 5+58 in)
Car length
  • DTSO(L): 19.83 m (65 ft 1 in)
  • MSO: 19.92 m (65 ft 4 in)[1]
Width2.82 m (9 ft 3 in)[1]
Height3.70 m (12 ft 2 in)[1]
DoorsDouble leaf sliding, pneumatically operated
Maximum speed90 mph (145 km/h)[2]
  • DTSOL: 30 t (29.5 long tons; 33.1 short tons)
  • MSO: 50.9 t (50.1 long tons; 56.1 short tons)
  • DTSO: 26.6 t (26.2 long tons; 29.3 short tons)
  • Total: 107.5 t (105.8 long tons; 118.5 short tons)[1]
Power output1,072 kW (1,438 hp)[1]
Accelerationmax. 0.56 m/s2 (2.0 km/(h⋅s); 1.3 mph/s)[2]
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC Overhead
Current collector(s)Pantograph (Stone Faiveley AMBR)
Braking system(s)Disc
Safety system(s)
Coupling systemTightlock
Multiple workingWithin class, and Class 320
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

Background and historyEdit

Class 318 253 at Fairlie in the first month of operation
Class 318 in original orange and black Strathclyde Partnership for Transport livery

Effectively a 3-car version of the Class 317, 21 of these British Rail Mark 3-based units were built by BREL York works between 1985–1986 to replace the elderly Class 101, Class 107, Class 120 and Class 126 diesel multiple units (DMUs) which had worked the Glasgow South Western sector for nearly 30 years. The technical description of the units are DTSO+MSO+DTSO, consisting of a central motor car (with a roof mounted Stone Faiveley AMBR pantograph and four Brush TM2141 traction motors located under the floor within both bogies (two motors per bogie)) with a driving trailer at either end. The units run on the standard 25 kV AC overhead line system, and are standard class throughout.

The units have a maximum speed of 90 mph (145 km/h) and up to four sets can be worked in multiple to form a 12-car set, although platforms are only capable of handling 8-car trains. The 318 can also operate in multiple with the slightly newer Class 320 in a six car formation, which is regularly used on the North Clyde and Argyle Lines. Upon the introduction of the Class 334s onto Ayrshire/Inverclyde routes in 2001, both the 334 and 318 were found operating these lines together.

There were two named units: 318259 Citizens' Network and 318266 Strathclyder. Both were denamed during the 2013-2017 refurbishment.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

Front view of 318254 shortly after the crash at Largs station
  • In July 1995, units 318254 and 318262 were operating a Glasgow Central to Largs service when a braking system failure resulted in the train overshooting the end of the platform at Largs railway station. The train crashed through shops at the front of the station, and out into Main Street, Largs. Being very early in the morning, there were no serious injuries. The cab of vehicle 77244 (from set 318254) needed to be completely rebuilt, but 318262 managed to move by rail back to Shields depot. The reconstruction of the station building took almost ten years to complete.[3]
  • On 3 September 2007 The last carriage of unit 318254 was derailed at low speed as it passed over facing points between Exhibition Centre and Anderston stations, Glasgow. The carriage tilted over and came to rest at an angle of approximately 75 degrees against the tunnel wall.[4]
  • On 16 January 2008, unit 318267 was involved in a minor collision at Glasgow Central station. Class 334 unit 334017 was working the 08:24 passenger service from Gourock when it collided with the empty, stationary 318 whilst preparing to terminate at Glasgow Central. The 334 was in the process of braking and was travelling at less than 4 mph (6 km/h) when the collision occurred. Four passengers were slightly injured; however only one required hospital attention, and was transferred to Glasgow Southern General hospital in a taxi.[5]
  • On 7 May 2022, a Class 320 (320309) and a Class 318 (318262) derailed between Blairhill and Coatbridge Sunnyside. The train was an empty coaching stock running from Yoker C.S to Shields TMD and was going via the North Clyde due to the Argyle line being closed. Nobody was injured during this incident.[6]


2005-2007 refurbishmentEdit

318267 in SPT livery with original front end at Gourock in July 2006
318257 with revised front end at Glasgow Central Low Level in 2011

Between 2005 and 2007, all Class 318s underwent a refurbishment by Hunslet-Barclay which involved the removal of the corridor connection on the driver's cars allowing the provision of a full width drivers cab.[7] The passenger accommodation was also improved, with new passenger door controls, a repainted interior, new seat moquette and flooring, and the installation of new grab handles. New lighting was also fitted, with similar shades to the Class 320 units along with LED lights for cab indicators and marker lights. New passenger information systems, similar to those seen on other trains were fitted.[7]

In September 2008 the Scottish Government's agency Transport Scotland announced that all ScotRail trains (including from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) would be eventually repainted in a new, blue livery with white Saltire markings on the carriage ends. Since the units had recently been refurbished and repainted, they would be the last in the EMU fleet to be repainted in Saltire livery. In the interim, all units had their "SPT Rail" naming removed, leaving them with an unbranded SPT livery.

2013-2017 refurbishmentEdit

Two Class 318s stand at Partick station wearing both pre and post-refurbishment liveries in 2017.

The Class 318 units received a second refurbishment between October 2013 and October 2017.

The work included:

  • Repainting into ScotRail saltire livery.
  • An internal refurbishment that included an internal repaint, new floor vinyl and new blue 'saltire' seat coverings.
  • Fluorescent lights replaced with LED lighting.
  • New floor-level lighting in the door vestibules.
  • Small toilet replaced with a large accessible toilet, as recently fitted to the Class 320 fleet.
  • Corrosion repairs to bodywork (as the units generally operated on Ayrshire coast services initially, they were frequently exposed to sea water during inclement weather).

The refurbishment programme of the Class 318 fleet was completed in October 2017.

Fleet detailsEdit

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 318 ScotRail 21 1985-1986 3 318250 - 318270


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Class 318". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Class 318". Eversholt Rail. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  3. ^ March 2005 edition of First ScotRail's newsletter, firstInsight
  4. ^ "Derailment near Exhibition Centre station Glasgow" (PDF). February 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Passengers hurt as trains collide". BBC Online. 16 January 2008. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Services cancelled after ScotRail train derails". RAIL. May 2022. p. 17.
  7. ^ a b Class 318 Refurbishment Archived 8 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine - Brush Traction. Retrieved 20 March 2011.

Further readingEdit