Putting ScotRail into public ownership

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has confirmed that the Scottish Government will bring ScotRail into public ownership from 1 April 2022.

An efficient, effective and modern railway is essential to meet our ambitious Net Zero goals – and by nationalising it, we can create a railway that truly meets people’s needs and interests.

Here’s what you need to know.

Major manifesto commitment – delivered

In the 2021 manifesto, the SNP promised that “we will bring ScotRail into public hands from next year“.

This announcement explicitly delivers on the SNP promise, ending the Abellio franchise from 1 April 2022 and building a railway that’s publicly owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.

Putting passengers’ needs and interests at the heart of our railway

Weekends have now become the busiest times for rail travel, rather than the weekday commuter periods – as more people than before now work from home, or on a hybrid basis.

We will focus on delivering rail services at times and in ways that people want to use – and our publicly owned ScotRail will mean passengers’ needs and interests are at the heart of it.

Working to meet our net zero targets

To meet our ambitious climate change targets, decarbonising our rail services is key.

Before the pandemic, around 75% of passenger journeys on ScotRail were made on net zero emission trains – and we’re working to decarbonise our railways completely by 2035.

Reconnecting communities

In the last ten years, we have already invested around £1 billion to electrify over 440 kilometres of track, and delivering numerous infrastructure improvements across Scotland.

We have delivered the Borders Railway, faster trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and reconnected 14 communities across Scotland to the rail network.

In the next 3 years, Reston, East Linton and Dalcross – as well as Cameron Bridge and Leven on the new Levenmouth rail line – will follow.

Public company delivering Fair Work

The publicly-owned ScotRail’s culture will be founded on Fair Work, and it will be expected to embed Fair Work First into its policies and practices.

Fair Work First is the Scottish Government’s policy of fairer working practices, including:

  • Trade union recognition
  • Investment in workforce development
  • No inappropriate use of zero hours contracts
  • Action to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace
  • Payment of the Real Living Wage
  • Offer of flexible and family-friendly working practices for all workers
  • Opposing ‘fire and rehire’ tactics

Delivering a safer railway for women

We went our railways to be safe places for women to travel – free from harassment, abuse and violence.

The Scottish Government will be consulting with women and women’s organisations across the country to better understand their experiences, and to ensure they can be at the heart of designing a service that will be safer and better for them to use.

A national conversation on the future of rail

Jenny Gilruth has launched a “national conversation” with MSPs from all parties, rail unions, and wider partners such as charities and the police, to help shape how we can adapt Scotland’s railways to the post-pandemic world.

The publicly-owned railway will always seek to respond to passengers’ needs, to make sure it’s sustainable and fit for the future.