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7 December 2017

UK Transport Secretary Admits: "Running the Track and the Train Together Makes Sense"

SNP Calls for Full Devolution of Network Rail with Vision to Radically Improve Service

The UK Secretary of State for Transport has conceded that it “makes sense” to run “the track and the train together”, supporting the SNP’s longstanding view that fully devolving Network Rail would improve Scotland’s rail services.

At the moment, while the Scottish Government is in charge of Scotrail’s funding, policy and strategy, Network Rail is still responsible for railway infrastructure and answers only to the UK Government, not Holyrood.
Scotrail figures for the latest four week period and over the last year show that Network Rail was responsible for just over half of all ScotRail delays.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling described Network Rail as it currently stands as a “centralised, big blob at the centre".

Commenting, local MSP and former Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“In spite of Network Rail’s shambolic operations, Scotrail’s services over the last year were punctual, on average, 91.1% of the time, compared to the UK average of 88.4%.

“The Reform Scotland think tank last year backed the Scottish Government’s vision to fully devolve Network Rail in order to improve the service for Scottish passengers and enable a “clear line of accountability” when things go wrong.

“The SNP is doing all it can to improve our rail services with the powers we have, but we need greater accountability of Network Rail in Scotland and we welcome Chris Grayling’s admission that a centralised Network Rail is not delivering.

“We know that further devolution will bring substantial savings of around £100 million every year.

“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 travellers in Scotland.”
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