ScotRail marks birthday with Saltire look

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SCOTLAND'S new Saltire train livery has been officially unveiled – a month after the design was revealed by The Scotsman.

The move was accompanied by confirmation of a major boost for commuters on the Aberdeen and Perth to Edinburgh lines from December. This will include services being doubled in frequency to hourly.

The new design is aimed at creating a permanent, uniform identity for ScotRail services, regardless of who operates them.

It will also sweep away the "blood and custard" livery on trains in the west of Scotland .

The first train in the new colour scheme ran between Glasgow and Edinburgh yesterday, with the rest of the 256-strong fleet being rebranded over the next six years as part of routine repainting. This will cost about 10,000 per carriage.

The move coincided with the 25th anniversary of British Rail creating the ScotRail brand for its Scottish services.

The new design features white and "signal blue" dots on the same "midnight blue" background colour scheme as FirstGroup's current ScotRail livery.

The first 17 of 342 stations – including North Berwick and Gretna – have received a new colour scheme and signs to match, with another ten to follow by the end of next month.

George Foulkes, a Lothians Labour MSP, has criticised the new livery as "part of the SNP's independence by creep".

However, Stewart Stevenson, the transport minister, said: "The Scottish flag, which is the inspiration for the design, is for all the people of Scotland." He added that it pre-dated the SNP coming to power last year.

He said: "It gives Scotland's railways a strong, dynamic identity, and over time will save taxpayers' money."

Passenger Focus, the official watchdog, agreed that the move would cut costs in the long term, enabling more spending on key improvements for commuters.