Fares, rail policy and DfT news

27.03.19

Transport secretary threatens ScotRail with franchise termination if it misses improvement targets

The Scottish transport secretary has warned ScotRail could be stripped of its franchise if it fails to meet the targets of its remedial plan as the operator’s managing director tells MSPs that services could get worse.

Under-fire train operator ScotRail submitted its £18m improvement plan on Monday after Transport Scotland issued it with a second remedial plan notice for failing to meet contractual targets.

Now, the transport secretary Michael Matheson has told a Holyrood committee that ScotRail could be stripped of its franchise if it fails to meet the targets in the improvement plan.

Matheson said: “At that point the Scottish Government can consider termination, but the decision will be dependent on what the reason for the default is.

“If it becomes clear ScotRail is incapable of delivering on the contract, then we will look at termination.”

ScotRail Alliance’s managing director Alex Hynes also gave evidence on the company to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, and warned that despite progress there are “further challenges” down the line.

These include a lack of drivers and possible delays to receiving new rolling stock and Hynes said he was at the “mercy” of train suppliers.

He also confirmed to the MSPs that a target stating that 92.5% of services must run on time might not be reached until 2021.

Hynes said: “We must do much, much more to regain the trust of our customers but things are moving in the right direction.

“ScotRail will face further challenges throughout the course of 2019 – training new drivers takes 18 months in total.

“We remain at the mercy of our train suppliers who have let us down badly in the past.

“And although Network Rail is investing more than ever to prepare for the extremes of Scottish weather, its unpredictable nature will continue to significantly impact Scotland’s railway.”

Part of ScotRail’s improvement plan included hiring an extra 55 drivers and 30 conductors during 2019, as well as three additional high-speed trains being leased.

Hynes also revealed that ScotRail is seeking millions in compensation for the late delivery of new trains from train suppliers who he said have “failed badly.”

As well as warning ScotRail of “serious consequences” if it does not improve punctuality standards, Matheson also said the Scottish Government was to consider a public sector-run railway after complaining of having “one hand tied behind my back” without complete rail devolution.

Image credit - Thomas Feige

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

HS2 progress report released

24/01/2020HS2 progress report released

Today (Jan 24) the latest update on the rail project High Speed Two was released by the National Audit Service. The report says The Departme... more >
Transform a Pacer competition winners announced

23/01/2020Transform a Pacer competition winners announced

Aired on television last night (Jan 22) the lucky winners of the Transform a Pacer competition were announced. The competition means that after 3... more >
Innovation and Safety - David Clarke, RIA

23/01/2020Innovation and Safety - David Clarke, RIA

Source: RTM Dec 19/Jan 20 David Clarke, Technical Director, Railway Industry Association talks us through the ways innovation can be used to... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >