Scotland Considers Taking its Rail Network Under Public Control

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Scottish government could end up running its own railways again soon, should failing current operator ScotRail, operated by Abellio, continue to massively fail to get anywhere near a decent level of service.

Speaking on the BBC this weekend, Scotland's transport minister Humza Yousaf said there were already some contingency plans in place to strip ScotRail of its license should it fail to get its punctuality above 84.3% for three months in a row. A full nationalisation is not on the cards, as Scotland's legal position wouldn't let it do that; this would instead see the government assemble its own in-house rail franchise.

Yousaf said: "My position is that we're going to put together a public sector bid. I'm going to be calling on the unions this week - and indeed other political parties - to join with me in a discussion about how we might put together a viable public sector bid."

And that could be in place as soon as 2020, when Abellio's ScotRail contract could be brought to an end. For its part, ScotRail says it's working through a 246-point Performance Improvement Plan and that things can only get better. [BBC]

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