Wednesday, 30 November 2016 06:40

CALLS for full devolution of Network Rail

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Think tank Reform Scotland has backed calls for the devolution of responsibility over Scotland’s rail infrastructure in a report published today.

The Minister for Transport, Humza Yousaf, last week restated the Scottish Government’s vision for full devolution of Network Rail in order to help improve the service for Scottish passengers.

Although Scottish Ministers control the funding and oversight of the ScotRail franchise - currently operated by Abellio – responsibility for the track is reserved to the UK government.

SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston John Mason said:

“Network Rail’s performance affects ScotRail and Scottish passengers every day and it is therefore nonsensical that the organisation is answerable to Westminster and not Holyrood. I am not surprised that Labour’s former Transport Minister, Tom Harris, one of the authors of Reform Scotland’s ‘Track to the Future’ report - has supported the common sense approach to hand over control of the rail infrastructure, that impacts the lives of Scottish rail passengers every day, to Scottish ministers.

“While Humza Yousaf, Transport Minister, has acknowledged that performance is not where it should be - the think tank’s report found that 54% of Scotrail’s delays over the last year were attributable to Network Rail. Only with full devolution of rail powers can the Scottish Government consider the full range of options for structuring our railways to meet the needs of Scottish travellers. This is the only way forward.”

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