Scotland’s railway is now in public hands

ScotRail has now been nationalised by the Scottish Government – heralding a new beginning of a railway that works for all those who use it, not shareholders and profit.

This is a key milestone in our ambitious plan to build a greener, fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

Here’s all 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“.

It’s a promise we have now delivered on, ending the Abellio franchise from 1 April 2022 and operating a railway that’s publicly owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.

Decarbonising railways and building a greener public transport network

Rail plays a key role in helping to meet our world-leading climate targets.

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

Together with free bus travel for under-22s, we’re working hard to make public transport more accessible, helping to reduce emissions.

Empowering staff, passengers and communities to shape ScotRail

We have announced a National Conversation, which will begin later in the spring, to encourage rail staff, passengers and communities to play their part in shaping what the new, publicly owned ScotRail should look like.

It will engage a wide ranging group of people, and explore how we can deliver a railway that’s truly fit for the future – affordable, sustainable, and customer-focused.

A more modern, faster railway

In the last ten years, we have already invested around £1 billion to electrify over 440 kilometres of track, and delivered faster journey times between Edinburgh and Glasgow thanks to major infrastructure improvements.

We have already announced our plans for the electrification of the Glasgow to Barrhead line by December 2023, and the new Levenmouth line by spring 2024.

And what’s more, we’ve delivered the major redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street station – significantly improving the passenger experience and allowing the new faster, greener electric trains to run on our railway.

Reconnecting communities to the railways

We have delivered the Borders Railway – the longest new domestic rail line in the UK for a century – and reconnected 14 communities across Scotland to the rail network.

These are:

🚉 Alloa
🚉 Laurencekirk
🚉 Armadale
🚉 Blackridge
🚉 Caldercruix
🚉 Conon Bridge
🚉 Shawfair
🚉 Eskbank
🚉 Newtongrange
🚉 Gorebridge
🚉 Stow
🚉 Galashiels
🚉 Tweedbank
🚉 Kintore

And we’re going further still. In the next few years, 5 more will follow:

🚉 Dalcross
🚉 East Linton
🚉 Reston
🚉 Cameron Bridge
🚉 Leven

A public operator, delivering good wages and Fair Work for its staff

While rail staff south of the border had their pay frozen, we have agreed a fair pay deal of 2.5% for the current year for ScotRail staff, which was agreed by all rail trade unions.

The new, publicly-owned ScotRail is founded on the principles of Fair Work First.

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