In a joint letter signed by a group of organizations and MSPs, Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to nationalize Scotland’s rail services.
14 organisations representing rail employees, tourists, people with disabilities, pensioners, environmentalists, civil society and 20 cross-party MSPs signed the document.
After the Scotrail and Caledonian Sleeper Covid emergency agreements expire in 24 days, it calls for the facilities to be returned to public ownership in January.
“Appointing a public operator in the new year would bring greater stability and resilience to Scotland’s railroads,” the letter said.
It will also end profiteering and have greater value for the money of taxpayers and travelers by ensuring that all funds are reinvested in the construction of an enhanced and more affordable railroad that can play a greater role in linking communities and reducing carbon emissions.’
The efforts of the Trump administration to reach a trade agreement with the UK are ‘encouraging’ for Scotch whisky.
The signatories point out that “significant and unprecedented challenges” have been generated by the Covid 19 pandemic for Scottish railroads, and during this period, the Scottish government has given significant support to operators.
It adds that private operators Abellio Scotrail and Serco Caledonian Sleeper “are still benefiting from the Scottish railroad by receiving a fee for operating services.”
The Scottish Government has said for some time that the franchising model is no longer fit for purpose, said a Scottish Government spokeswoman.
UK ministers have consistently refused our demands to devolve the required powers to ensure the best future for Scotland’s railroads, a future that eliminates the absurdities and inconsistencies of the current system while allowing us, through a completely integrated approach to infrastructure and services, to operate the country’s railroads in the interests of its users and employees.
“However, we must act in accordance with current UK rail legislation in order to have a franchising policy statement and that is why we have taken the approach of reviewing the current statement and will launch a targeted consultation with key stakeholders tomorrow.”
The R count of Scotland may now be ‘over 1’ days before rules are relaxed.
“It added: “Our Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) for the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises are temporarily amending current franchise agreements to reduce the damage caused by the Covid 19 pandemic to passengers and rail workers, while ensuring that passenger rail services continue to run.
“Abellio ScotRail and Serco Caledonian Sleeper cannot disburse any monies to the group until all obligations under the contracts have been fully met,” he said.
Our legal duty to provide or ensure the provision of services as a last resort operator only exists if a franchise agreement is discontinued or otherwise expires with respect to such services and no additional franchise agreement has been reached. We have well-developed contingency plans that could come into play if this obligation was ever invoked.
“Our primary focus continues to be working with our operators who are best positioned to address the current challenges while maintaining stability for passengers and employees during this difficult time.”