October 2015

ScotRail: Fight for Flexible Space

Spokes has produced a new factsheet making the case for a flexible space in every coach on ScotRail trains, as is common in European rail systems.  We need your help to make this happen

“The purchase of a new train fleet for EGIP* represents a unique opportunity for a step change in the accessibility of Scotland’s trains.

Ewan Dutch train

Dutch train, with useful mix of fixed and flexible seating

It can not be right that if you are travelling with a child in a buggy or, say, golf clubs or a bicycle, it is often difficult and sometimes impossible to get on a train which has lots of empty seats. This is a problem every day across Scotland, because our trains are furnished almost entirely with rigid inflexible seating.”


1.  We get the impression that ScotRail supports the proposal but their hands are tied by the Scottish Government through its transport agency, Transport Scotland, which controls the rail franchise and is insisting on maximum fixed inflexible seating. Therefore letters to your MSPs are really important.   Find your MSPs here.

2.  This affects far more than just bikes.

Ewan fixed seating

Scottish train, jam packed with rigid, inflexible seating

As explained in our factsheet, families with buggies and prams are particularly affected – for example, below are some quotes from Mumsnet.  It will really help if parents and other affected groups also contact their MSPs.  It is not just an issue for bikes, and the government must not think it is! Please ask affected friends, relations and groups to write to MSPs.

  • I am looking forward to the day I no longer need to travel with child and buggy on the train
  • I sometimes forget how awful it is and take xx on the train on a day trip. We inevitably end up stuck on the fold-down seat by the exit because there’s nowhere else for the buggy to go.
  • I hate hate hate taking a buggy on trains.

*EGIP covers the Glasgow-Edinburgh main line and several other lines in central Scotland, but this policy should also to apply to every other new and refurbished train.


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