New deal to transform rail services

Transport Minister Keith Brown today announced that the competition to win the single biggest contract let by the Scottish Government has been won by operator Abellio.

The company will invest millions in providing an improved service and superior facilities for passengers and a better deal for staff.

Included in the new franchise, worth up to £6billion and launching on April 1, 2015, are measures to make train travel more attractive across the board.

There will be a break clause for the franchise after 5 years.

For passengers -

  • free wifi on all trains
  • new approach to cycling with more than 3,500 parking spaces and bike-hire at a number of stations.
  • 23% more carriages across the network,
  • reduced fares for jobseekers,
  • high-speed intercity diesel trains, with over a third more seats,
  • advance fares of £5 between any two Scottish cities,
  • Great Scenic Railway scheme bringing more tourists to the north, the south west and the Borders,
  • major shopping developments at the stations at Aberdeen and Inverness.

For staff –

  • a commitment to earnings of at least the living wage for all staff and subcontractors,
  • at least 100 apprenticeships,
  • guarantee of no compulsory redundancies throughout the life of the contract,
  • rail staff pensions and travel rights protected,
  • introduction of guaranteed trade union representation on every franchise Board meeting.

Announcing the new contract, Mr Brown said:

“The Scottish Government believes good public transport improves the lives of the people and the economy of Scotland. Following extensive consultation by the Scottish Government, Scotland’s railway has attracted a world leading contract to deliver for rail staff and passengers.

“We’ve already ensured that regulated rail fares will stay in line with inflation or less, and Abellio has come up with some truly innovative ways to make rail even more affordable, such as the £5 intercity fare anywhere in Scotland and reduced ticket prices for jobseekers and those newly in work, as well as a Price Promise for guaranteed best value fares.

“There will be benefits all over the country, with faster services between all our cities, new trains in the Central Belt, a Great Scenic Railway scheme bringing more tourists to the north, the south west and the Borders and major shopping developments at the stations at Aberdeen and Inverness. Glasgow will be the new base for Abellio in the UK with around 200 jobs.

“Trains will have more space for prams and wheelchairs, there will be rigorous new service quality control measures ensuring cleaner trains and improved right-time measures. We’ll see later services for concerts and events and improved integration with bus, ferry and air timetables, alongside a £520,000 Station Travel Planning ‘Plus’ programme and a Journey Companion app with door-to-door travel info, to ensure passengers can get straight from A-B.

“Every single Scottish station will have CCTV and passengers will enjoy improved waiting facilities at 40 stations, extra retail facilities at up to 50 stations, and hundreds of new car parking spaces.

“All employees including employees of subcontractors will be paid at least the living wage and a new Scottish training academy will be established.

“And for the wider community, unused station buildings will be transformed into premises for start-up businesses, locally-sourced food and drink will provide improved on-train catering, ScotRail training facilities will be available to charities free of charge and the franchisee will pay out £500,000 every year for rail-related community schemes.

“These exciting plans mean that our railways will continue to be innovative, passenger-led and a hugely important driver in Scotland’s long-term success and sustainability.

“This is a contract that will benefit the whole of Scotland.”

Notes to editors

Transport Scotland Press Office : 0141 272 7195

Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government's vision for transport.

The ScotRail franchise is a 10-year contract, with the provision for Ministers to cancel at the halfway point if the franchisee is not meeting its obligations.

A brochure with more detail of the new franchise can be found here -

Published 8 Oct 2014 Tags