The Scottish government in Edinburgh confirmed on Wednesday that it will restore the railway system within a year (March 31, 2022). The move was expected after the government terminated the contract with the NS Abellio subsidiary. They have run ScotRail since 2015. In the future, the railway company will be run through an intermediary company owned by the Scottish government.
The announcement by Scottish Transport Minister Michael Matheson put an end to speculation about the future of Scotland’s rail network. The network’s operation was widely criticized, leading the government to decide to terminate the contract. This news comes just weeks after the Welsh government took steps to nationalize the network amid growing fears of collapse due to the economic pressures caused by the Corona pandemic.
Elsewhere in the UK, passenger concessions are still suspended, with the London government generally controlling. At the same time, agreements are adapted with operators to give them management contracts in the context of emergency measures. The Northern Ireland carrier remains an integrated transportation body, which has been relocated from the Belfast government.
In a statement, Scott Rail’s management confirmed the announcement saying it was expected to be relieved of duties in March 2022. They said: “The Scottish government has confirmed that when the Abellio ScotRail concession expires on March 31, 2022, a new government agency will start operating ScotRail. “We want to ensure that we will continue to provide a reliable service in the coming months to support the introduction of vaccines and open up the economy as we prepare for the changes that will be implemented.”
ScotRail has confirmed its intention to cooperate with the government in all areas. They went on to say they would work closely with Transport for Scotland, a Scottish government agency, and Network Rail, the UK’s infrastructure operator. ScotRail says it will ensure a smooth transition to the new mode, in order to provide stability to customers and railway personnel.
Since Abellio acquired the concession in 2015, 530 million euros have been invested in new and improved trains and infrastructure. “Recently, we have also continued to stick to deadlines, especially during the pandemic,” the railway company said. “Our customer satisfaction scores are testament to the hard work of 5,200 highly skilled employees. During the pandemic, we provided essential service by working closely with partners in the railways and the government. We are proud of our role in such difficult times.”
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