318268 at Hyndland 3.4.09

The 318 is a 3 car version of the 4 car class 317 units running in England.

21 of these units were built by BREL in York during 1985 to operate on the newly electrified Glasgow to Ayr , Largs and Ardrossan Harbour Lines. Prior to introduction the 318's were tested on the Ayr line but also on the West Coast Main Line, indeed one of the press runs took place from Glasgow to Lanark. Until 2001 these units rarely strayed from the Ayrshire lines other than occasionally covering on Gourock, Wymess Bay and Cathcart Circle Services. Following the introduction of the class 334s the 318's began to cascade onto the Argyle and North Clyde lines and also replacing the 305's on the Edinburgh - North Berwick Services for a time.

The units have corridor connections throughout and have all electrical equipment including the pantograph is located in the centre car whilst the other 2 vehicles are driving trailers, one of the trailers is fitted with a toilet. Until refurbishment in 2005/06 the 318's had connections allowing passengers to walk through from one unit to another when working as a 6 car set.   

Internally the units have been modernised to include comfy new seats, brighter decor than the rather dated looking yellow and grey walls carried previously, the refurbishment of the units also included the fitting of tables and the refurbishment of the toilets.  All units have been fitted with Passenger Information Systems.

On 11th July 1995 , an early morning service operated by 318254 and 318262 crashed through the buffers at Largs Station following the failure of the train brakes, demolishing the newly refurbished station and some shops before landing on the road.   318254 was out of service for a long time and required a new cab to be fitted whilst 318262 was able to be hauled back to Shields depot for examination and escaped relatively unscathed.  In September 2007, 318254 was involved in a serious derailment whilst operating a peaktime Anderston - Motherwell service, resulting in the leading vehicle leaving the rails, tipping over and landing on it's side in the tunnel outside Anderston Station. This particular set returned to service in 2009.

From 2001 onwards Class 318's began to appear on the Argyle Line and the North Clyde lines in large numbers due to the introduction to service of the class 334 units to the Ayrshire lines.   Prior to 2001 it was an unusual occurance to see a class 318 outwith the Ayrshire and Inverclyde services however in 1999 there did appear to be semi regular appearances by a class 318 working on the Argyle line involving the 7.46 Motherwell - Dalmuir via Bellshill.   I'm sure a class 318 may also have been used vice a 314 if short of units on the Argyle line back then.   Also following the transferral of the Class 314's to the Cathcart Circle, class 318's some times covered diagrams if short of 314's or spare class 303's.

The class 318's are a useful unit as well, due to it being similar to the class 320 (both classes were built by BREL at York) as it means that not only can either type rescue the other in a brakedown but can operate in multiple.   It is not uncommon to see a 6 car passenger service on the North Clyde and Argyle Line formed of a 320 and a 318.   Indeed there are some ECS workings which feature 9 car combinations with 318s and 320s and also a 314 and 318 6 car ECS working

Class 318's have a larger seating capacity than a class 334 and dare I say it, appear to be more reliable.   The introduction of the class 334 saw a reduction of seats on a number of services and on the Ayrshire line, this has caused overcrowding on trains.   In a bid to reduce this Scotrail increased all day time services to Ayr to 6 carraige sets and returned some 318's to the Ayr, Ardrossan and Largs services to increase capacity.

Since 2011, all 318's now operate on the North Clyde and more commonly, Argyle Line services. The 318's seem to operate on services which are known to be busier e.g. 7:44 Lanark - Garscadden, 8:16 Motherwell - Dalmuir via Bellshill, 16:44 Dalmuir - Lanark express and most Larkhall services.   They also occasionally work on the Cathcart Circle services as well.

At present all 318s wear the Scotrail Saltire livery and have received an internal refurbishment.


Class 318 Unit Formation summary

Unit Number Livery Vehicle Numbers Unit Name Notes year entered service
318250 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77260 62866 77240     1986
318251 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77261 62867 77241     1986
318252 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77262 62868 77242     1986
318253 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77263 62869 77243     1986
318254 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77264 62870 77244     1986
318255 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77265 62871 77245     1986
318256 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77266 62872 77246     1986
318257 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77267 62873 77247     1986
318258 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77268 62874 77248     1986
318259 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77269 62875 77249     1986
318260 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77270 62876 77250     1986
318261 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77271 62877 77251     1986
318262 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77272 62878 77252     1986
318263 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77273 62879 77253     1986
318264 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77274 62880 77254     1986
318265 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77275 62881 77255     1986
318266 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77276 62882 77256     1986
318267 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77277 62883 77257     1986
318268 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77278 62884 77258     1986
318269 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77279 62885 77259     1986
318270 Scotrail Saltire Livery 77289 62890 77288     1986