Scotland's Railway

Who we are

Scotland’s Railway today is a dynamic collaboration of Government and rail industry partners working together to deliver the safe, timeous and high quality railway that Scotland expects and deserves.

Our partners include:

  • ScotRail Alliance (ScotRail and Network Rail)
  • Serco Caledonian Sleeper Ltd
  • Office of Rail and Road
  • cross border rail operators
  • rail supply chain.

The railway is part of the fabric of our nation’s economy and well-being. It connects people and places - supporting over 13,000 jobs, around 9000 of those directly. It is a Living Wage employer and our rail franchises guarantee this.

How are we doing this?

By working together to promote positive leadership and behaviours across all levels within the Scottish Rail Industry we are enabling dynamic, evidence-based decisions to be made at the right level and at the right time. In addition, as we strive to continuously improve ways of working across the industry we are actively embracing new techniques and new thinking – all with the aim of delivering rail enhancements which bring tangible benefits to Scotland’s Passengers and Freight.

Historical background to Scotland's railway

Our national railway has a long and proud heritage dating back to the first rail line built in Scotland - the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway - over 200 years ago in 1808.

Through the industrial expansion of the 19th century, through to the 20th and into the 21st, rail has played a fundamental role in the movement of people and goods.

Brief timeline of rail powers

Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007

In February 2007 the Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 was passed by Parliament.

Railways Act 2005

The Scottish Ministers have the authority to set a strategy through the Railways Act 2005, which enabled greater devolved decision making.

The Act enabled:

  • transfer of the SRA's powers to manage and monitor the performance of ScotRail services
  • sole responsibility for securing future ScotRail franchises
  • power to take long-term, strategic decisions about future investment
  • power to fund and specify where resources are targeted by Network Rail on track maintenance and investment in Scotland

Scotland's Transport Future 2004

In June 2004 the Scottish Executive published Scotland's Transport Future - the Transport White Paper, which set out a vision for an integrated transport system that will successfully meet the challenges of Scotland's transport future.

Transport Act 2000

The 2000 Transport Act created the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and in 2001 Railtrack was put into administration. In 2002, Network Rail acquired Railtrack plc and became the owner and operator of the rail network in Scotland, England and Wales.

Privatisation in 1994

Britain's rail network was nationalised in 1947 and then privatised in 1994 following the Railways Act 1993. At this point, various private companies became responsible for the railways:

  • Railtrack took over the rail infrastructure
  • Five freight operating companies (FOCs) and 25 train operating companies (TOCs) were awarded franchises
  • Three rolling stock companies (ROSCOs) were created to lease trains to train operators