By Tony Winterburn • 18 March 2021 • 9:15
Scottish Government Announces Plans To Nationalise Scotrail. image: Wikipedia
Scottish Government Announces Plans To Nationalise ScotRail.
Scotland’s train services are to be run by a public sector body, the Scottish government said in an announcement. Dutch firm Abellio said it will stop running the ScotRail franchise at the end of March next year.
After March 2022, the Scottish government company will take over the running of services. Abellio has been running the franchise since 2015 but had its contract ended early amid criticism over cancellations and performance levels.
All ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish government-owned entity – the arrangement is being made under powers that allow the Scottish government to take over the rail franchise without a bidding process.
Mr Matheson said: “I have repeatedly stated the current franchising system is no longer fit for purpose. Following a detailed assessment process and given the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, alongside the continuing delays to the UK Government White Paper on rail reform, I have decided that it would not be appropriate to award a franchise agreement to any party at this time, either through a competition or a direct award.
“That is why I have confirmed that, from the expiry of the current franchise, ScotRail services will be provided in public hands through a company wholly owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. This is in line with our operator of last resort duty.
“ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government-owned entity, with their terms and conditions protected. This approach will provide a stable platform for ScotRail services and certainty for passengers and staff.”
ScotRail posted a statement on Twitter
ScotRail said: “The Scottish Government today confirmed that when the Abellio ScotRail franchise ends on 31 March 2022, a new public sector body will begin running ScotRail. It’ll be known as the operator of last resort (OLR).
“We want to reassure you that we’ll keep operating a reliable service to support the vaccine rollout and the opening up of the economy over the coming months, as preparations are made for the introduction of the changes the Scottish Government have announced.
“We’ll work closely with Transport Scotland and Network Rail Scotland to ensure a smooth transition to the new operator, to deliver stability for customers and railway staff.
“Since Abellio was awarded the franchise in 2015, we’ve invested £475 million in new and upgraded trains and transformed Scotland’s railway. Recently, we’ve also been delivering sustained high punctuality, in particular during the pandemic.
“Our customer satisfaction scores are a testament to the hard work of our 5,200 highly-skilled staff. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve provided a vital service working closely with partners across the railway and in government. We’re proud of our role in such challenging times.”
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