The Scottish Government's detailed franchise agreement contains a requirement that class 158s, whose operations will be extended to the Borders and Mallaig lines, must improve from suffering a "technical incident" every 5,540 miles to 8,234 miles by the end of the franchise.
Asked by The Scotsman, for an article published on 2nd April, Frank Roach (HITRANS) said: "We welcome this ambitious target to improve the performance of the class 158 fleet, which operates on Highland and Aberdeen routes, and will form the scenic train service to Wick, Kyle and the West Highlands. It is good to know significant engineering investment will be made to overcome the well-documented problems that have dogged services."
An industry figure commented "The class 158s are pretty scabby trains - they have never been great. They were made by British Rail when it was starved of cash. The improvements are going to require a lot of investment."
Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth said some ScotRail trains are not "top of the league" compared to some in use south of the Border.
In the article Jeff Hoogesteger was reported as saying "As the new stewards of a vital part of Scotland's society and economy, we understand the responsibility given to us, and will work every day to earn the faith that has been shown in us."
Transport minister Derek Mackay said he "will be looking at the figures week to week and it will be for Abellio to manage their assets effectively."