“The ongoing problem across the UK was the fractured passenger service not being aligned with infrastructure provision run by Network Rail and this must be addressed” says Transport Secretary Michael Matheson MSP
He goes on:
“…most rail problems occur not because of rail operating company but because of infrastructure failures” and he reiterated the need for an integrated rail body.
The Williams Rail Review was established in September 2018 to look at the structure of the whole rail industry across the UK and the way passenger rail services are delivered. The review is still due to make recommendations for reform that prioritise passengers and taxpayers interests.
The UK Government has been roundly criticised for the delay in publishing the review and its recommendations.
South Scotland MSP Emma Harper also raised this matter with the First Minister with the following question:
“What are the consequences of the serial incompetence on the part of United Kingdom Government ministers, who have so far failed to publish a white paper following the Williams review?
The First Minister responded;
“First, I think that it is very positive news that ScotRail will in effect come into public ownership and that the railways will in effect be nationalised in Scotland. I am proud that it is a Scottish National Party Government that has set out the plans to do exactly that.
“One of the frustrations—this is where that question is very important—is that we cannot yet implement our preferred model of an integrated public sector-controlled railway because we are seeing delays in the UK Government’s consultations and, of course, Network Rail still lies in the control of the UK Government.
“I think that we are taking significant steps in the right direction but completing the powers that this Parliament has over rail, as well as over everything else, would allow us to do so much more and go even further yet”.
Dumfries and Galloway’s railways – Dumfries – Glasgow and Stranraer – Ayr, as well as the West Coast Mainline have been raised with the Scottish Government and it is particularly relevant following the ScotRail statement when it was announced that Scotland’s Rail Network is to be brought into public ownership.