ScotRail services will move into public sector control when the current franchise with Abellio expires – expected to happen in March 2022.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson announced that rail services will be run by an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s decision to run our railways through what it known as the ‘Operator of Last Resort’ has been shaped by a number of factors, including faults with the current franchising system, uncertainty from a year-long delay in the UK Government’s rail review and the effects of the Covid pandemic.
Commenting on the announcement, South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said,
“This bold move by the SNP Scottish Government will bring welcome stability and certainty to those who use our railway for work and leisure, both in Dumfries and Galloway and across the country.
“And the news that current ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government owned company, with their terms and conditions protected, will also provide much-needed security to those who rely on our railways for their livelihoods.
“The SNP have long argued that the future structure of Scottish railways should be in Scotland’s hands. It’s well beyond time that the Tory UK Government listened and devolved rail powers to Holyrood.
“However, this move is both bold and welcome and will ensure Scotland’s rail users are provided with the well-run and reliable and service we rightly expect.”
Cllr Stephen Thompson, SNP Councillor for Annandale North, said,
“If this can help get a Scotrail service to stop at Lockerbie, and enable re-opening Beattock station on the West Coast Mainline, this will be a significant step in improving public transport connectivity for Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland.”