The Anonymous Widower

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

The obvious battery-electric trains to be used will be Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

ScotRail currently run a fleet of the following Hitachi  trains.

  • 46 x three-car Class 385 trains.
  • 24 x four-car Class 385 trains.

Hitachi have indicated that these trains can be fitted with batteries

Could some of these trains be fitted with batteries to work the Fife Circle Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link?

Distances involved include.

  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Kirkcaldy – 29.6 miles
  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Dunfermline – 30.5 miles
  • Leven and Thornton junction – 5.9 miles

If between Haymarket and Dalmeny stations were to be electrified, this would reduce distances on battery power by over eight miles.

It would appear that if between Leven station and Thornton junction were to be electrified, then with a battery range of forty miles, the battery-electric trains could reach Haymarket station with ease.


It looks to me, that Baldrick’s Scottish cousin has developed a cunning plan!

But it does show how one short length of easy electrification on a new track – Leven and Thornton Junction, can avoid a more difficult electrification – Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton, which goes over the culturally-sensitive World Heritage Site of the Forth Bridge.

North From Thornton Junction

It should be noted that Haymarket and Dundee via Kirkcaldy is 57.9 miles.

  • I have just flown my virtual helicopter on the route and much of it is flat farmland.
  • Electrification to the North of Thornton Junction could use the same power feed as that used for the Levenmouth Rail Link.
  • A good proportion of the battery-electric trains, that are pencilled in for Edinburgh and Aberdeen have been or will be built by Hitachi.

I would expect that Hitachi’s techniques, that I talked about in Solving The Electrification Conundrum could be used to enable battery-electric Class 385 and Class 80x trains to run between Edinburgh and Dundee.

I have a feeling, that electrifying the Levenmouth Rail Link, may only be 5.9 miles of double-track electrification, but that with a few miles of electrification North of Thornton Junction, it can enable electric trains to run the following routes.

  • Edinburgh and Leven via Kirkcaldy.
  • Edinburgh and Leven via Dunfermline.
  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Perth

Note that as Dunblane is electrified, battery-electric trains might be able to reach Dundee from Glasgow with some charging at Perth.

It does appear that electric trains could be serving Dundee.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!


July 28, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. […] Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link […]

    Pingback by The New Cameronbridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link « The Anonymous Widower | July 28, 2021 | Reply

  2. […] Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link […]

    Pingback by The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link « The Anonymous Widower | July 28, 2021 | Reply

  3. The traction manager/engineer for Scotland already has emu s and dmu s. Why would he/she want bmu s with all the infrastructure which would be unique to battery operation? What is feasible and what is practicable are far apart in the scenario that you envisage. However if the goal is zero exhaust emissions at any price …………

    Comment by Thomas Carr | July 28, 2021 | Reply

    • They are going for decarbonisation.

      Comment by AnonW | July 28, 2021 | Reply

  4. Have a read of

    This mentions BEMUs for Fife and Borders.

    In the last month I have seen or read a document or plan that showed many of the lines planned to be electrified had a diagram showing these lines electrified in discountinuous parts. The electrification was going in where it was easy to do and the commentary suggest the first bits were also where existing easy to use big electrical feeder points existed.

    On the Borders line it showed the last 5 miles at Tweedbank being done first with a gap from near Galasheils back to the ECML – hence BEMUs.

    So maybe the BEMU is an EMU which has a big battery pack for its first 10 years, i.e. up to the point the battery requires replacement, by which time the route is full electric.

    A feature of the plan was to keep the elctification team going and fully utilised by doing the easy bits whilst the planners and techniians sorted out how to do the difficult bit.

    Comment by TW | July 28, 2021 | Reply

  5. Hitachi have partnered with ABB, and they have developed a containerised electrical feed that can supply a few miles of track. The trains which would probably Class 385 trains would have an appropriate sized batter, which could give a range of up to 40-60 files depending on terrain.
    f the line is fully electrified, the containers are taken away and used elsewhere. Trains would all have a battery sized to their routes or for the needs of power-failure and regenerative braking.

    Even now, there are some interesting battery applications coming in before the end of the year.

    East Coast Trains – Class 803 trains have batteries for emergency hotel power, if the wires go down or are nicked.

    Merseyrail – Class 777 trains have batteries for depot movements, route developments etc.

    Comment by AnonW | July 28, 2021 | Reply

  6. […] as I surmise in Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link, the trains are battery-electric Class 385 trains, these trains with their electric power will at […]

    Pingback by Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link « The Anonymous Widower | July 28, 2021 | Reply

  7. I found what I was looking for.

    IMECHE presentation “Decarbonising Scotland’s Railway”.

    About 45 minutes long but pause at 28 mins. There is a map which shows discontinuous electrification and thus where BEMUs are needed. At the bottom, it is not clear whether the stretch from Dumfries to Gretna Junction is shown as BEMu or 25Kv infill (as a directly connection to the WCML and fed by the WCML initially).

    Comment by chilterntrev | July 29, 2021 | Reply

    • Thanks! I’m just finishing working out what electrifying the Levenmouth Rail Link enables.

      Comment by AnonW | July 29, 2021 | Reply

  8. […] Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link […]

    Pingback by North From Thornton Junction « The Anonymous Widower | July 29, 2021 | Reply

  9. […] Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link […]

    Pingback by Whisky Galore! « The Anonymous Widower | July 29, 2021 | Reply

  10. […] Since then, Scotland has decided to run battery-electric trains to Leven, as I wrote about in Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link. […]

    Pingback by Plans To Introduce Battery Powered Trains In Scotland « The Anonymous Widower | August 6, 2021 | Reply

  11. NR have now announced they’ve started work on Levenmouth

    What they say about electrification seems a bit confused to me though: “The first services to run on the line will be diesel operated before conversion to electric operation at the earliest opportunity. Electrification now, as part of the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation action plan, will enable the earliest possible transition to electric services minimising future passenger disruption and ensuring work is delivered at the most efficient cost.”

    I know they’ve had to revise their plans a bit because of passenger number uncertainty post-Covid. The last published priorities for the Scottish gov are at

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 4, 2022 | Reply

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