Overview

The ScotRail franchise operates around 2,300 train services each day and delivers over 93 million passenger journeys per year. It is the single biggest contract let by Scottish Ministers, worth a total value of over £7 billion over 10 years.

In October 2014, the franchise was awarded to Abellio. Operations commenced on April 1 2015. The renewal programme  documents all of the background information on the procurement process.

The ScotRail franchise covers all services in Scotland apart from services by other operators that cross the Anglo-Scottish border (Virgin, East Coast, TransPennine, Cross Country and the Caledonian Sleeper). ScotRail does operate services to Carlisle.

Rail franchising in Great Britain was created by the Railways Act 1993. Franchising allows a private operator to provide rail services on the Scottish rail network on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Our staff

Having a happy and flourishing staff team is integral to a successful railway and delivers a service Scotland can be proud of. The ScotRail franchise commits to training, ensuring good terms and conditions and recognising the value of staff in delivering passenger railway services.

Franchise commitments include:

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

Decision making

Documents relating to the ScotRail franchise agreement can be found in the Public Register. Regular meetings are held with Abellio ScotRail to discuss franchise performance. We publish all the minutes of these meetings.

Previous franchise arrangements

The previous rail franchise was held by First ScotRail. This ended on 31 March 2015 and all documents relating to this franchise can be found in the Public Register. In addition, you can also read all the meeting minutes from regular meetings with First ScotRail.

The results for the Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE) for the First ScotRail franchise are also available. More detailed information can also be found on the Network Rail website.

Improving ScotRail

Stations

As part of the franchise contract, Abellio ScotRail are making significant investment in improving Scotland's railway stations. This involves upgrading passenger facilities such as:

  • better waiting facilities
  • additional and upgraded CCTV cameras
  • new customer information screens
  • new ticket vending machines
  • additional car parking spaces

Significant investment are underway in retail developments such as vending facilities and “ticket plus” outlets, enabling combined retail and rail ticket purchases to be made.

Abellio ScotRail have committed to providing cycle facilities at railway stations across the rail network. This will help businesses, passengers and visitors to integrate with other modes of transport.

To support environmental improvements, Abellio ScotRail will install electric charging bays at stations to promote low emission car usage.

Train fleet

Abellio have an ambitious programme underway to improve the train fleet over the course of its franchise commitment. Their programme will make rail travel more attractive to commuters, tourists and leisure travellers by enhancing performance and on-board facilities across the fleet.

The number of seats on ScotRail's routes will increase by 23% by 2019.

Abellio's improvements to the fleet will include:

  • 70 new electric Hitachi trains rolled out between summer 2017 and early 2019 across the central belt
  • 27 high speed trains to operate on inter-city routes serving 7 cities later in 2018.
  • 7 class 321s leased from late 2015 to increase seating capacity on the Glasgow suburban electrified routes
  • 2 loco hauled services for Fife circle featuring new class 68 locos and mark 3 coaches [6 cars] all to be in ScotRail livery
  • all existing Electric Multiple Units fleet class 318/ class 320/ class 334/ class 380s will have Wi-Fi, power sockets, passenger counting equipment fitted where currently it is not in place
  • 40 class 158 trains significantly enhanced to support the Great Scenic Railways of Scotland package on Borders, Far North, Kyle and West Highlands routes from December 2017 delivering accessible WC, wheelchair space, bay seating, air conditioning upgrade, seat covers, flooring, lighting, maps on tables, information screens, decals, painting, counting equipment and re-livery
  • 38 class 156s refurbishment programme for Great Scenic Railways of Scotland package on Glasgow-Stranraer and Dumfries/Carlisle routes from December 2017
  • 34 class 170s retained beyond December 2018 with a refresh programme

ScotRail rolling stock fleet totals.

OCTOBER 2015 Electric Diesel
Class of train C314 C318 C320 C321 C334 C380 C380 C156 C158 C170
No. of cars per train 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 2 2 3
Max speed [mph] 75 90 90 90 90 100 100 75 90 100
Leased Trains in fleet 16 21 22 7 40 22 16 47 48 50 + [5]*
Year Built 1979 1986 1990 1990 2000 2010 2010 1988 1990 1998-2005
Pax Info. System no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes 40/48 yes
Toilets per train 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 2
CCTV no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes 40/ 48 yes

* [x5] c170s subleased from GTR

SQUIRE performance measuring

Monitoring performance is a key aspect of the franchise. Transport Scotland monitors the franchisee's quality of service through the Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE), which is a customer-focused scheme that measures the qualities of facilities at stations and on trains.

SQUIRE has seen several changes within the framework of the new ScotRail franchise, most notably the widening of parameters of the payments and penalties. Additionally, there have also been changes to some benchmark levels, methodologies and the introduction of new aspects within the audit.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver continued customer improvements is reflected in tougher measurements, benchmarks, financial penalties and incentives which inhibit direct comparisons between the SQUIRE results of the previous franchise and the new one.

The alliance between ScotRail and Network Rail will deliver efficient joint processes. This should lead tomore faults being addressed within compliance days. In addition, issues not measured within SQUIRE will be tackled as part of routine repair and cleaning.

One key factor introduced with the new franchise is that all penalties from SQUIRE are retained in a fund for re-investment into the Scottish Rail Network. This fund is not used for repairs but for qualitative improvements or new facilities by agreement between both Transport Scotland and ScotRail.

The new and improved SQUIRE system should lead to improvements across facilities, services and fault repairs.

The ScotRail brand

Pull into any Scottish station or ride any trains in our fleet and you'll be greeted with ScotRail's fresh, distinctive look. Our brand is a dynamic representation of the Saltire, the iconic, world-famous symbol for Scotland.

The Scotrail brand was launched on 22 September 2008 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the ScotRail name. By the end of that year, every leaflet, timetable and poster carried the new look for the brand.

The branding ensures that Scotland's trains have a consistent look for the first time. You can see it in all the stations and trains we manage, and was implemented during routine maintenance so we can deliver it without any additional cost to taxpayers.

The brand delivers savings to taxpayers by providing a consistent look which will not change with new franchise operators. In the past, trains and stations were rebranded with each new franchise, which proved expensive, disruptive and unnecessary. The fragmented appearance also created confusion for the public with differing signage, colours and brands, so a clear and consistent visual identity was created for ScotRail.

Every new fleet that ScotRail launches will contain the Saltire livery, while the existing trains have all been updated during general maintenance work.

ScotRail Franchise renewal programme (2013-2015)

On 8 October 2014, Keith Brown, the then Minister for Transport and Veterans announced the intent to award the new ScotRail Franchise to Abellio. The contract was signed on 18 October 2014 and Abellio ScotRail began operating services in April 2015. Further information on the procurement of the ScotRail franchise is provided below.

To access the suite of Franchise Agreement documents provided by Abellio see the Public Register.

For more information about the innovations and improvements the new contract will bring see the ScotRail franchise brochure

ScotRail Franchise ITT

The ScotRail Franchise Invitation to Tender was issued in January 2014. Transport Scotland received five returned Bids in April 2014.

Objectives

The Scottish Ministers set out the policy objectives for the ScotRail franchise as follows:

  • Ensure value for money.
  • Secure industry alignment to increase effectiveness and reduce costs.
  • Exploit utility and capacity of the network.
  • Improve journey times and connectivity.
  • Manage change effectively.
  • Improve passenger satisfaction.
  • Improve environmental performance.
  • Improve accessibility to services and stations.

Commercial proposition

The following is an outline of the specification: 

  • The new ScotRail Franchise will be for a term of up to 10 years with a review and a decision by the end of the fifth year to decide whether the franchise will terminate at the end of year 7 or 10.
  • There will be a detailed minimum service level specification which bidders will be required to meet.
  • Bidders will be required to offer proposals on how they will stimulate and achieve growth of off-peak patronage leading to better overall utilisation of the rail services.
  • There will be a regulated fares framework for peak and off-peak services, with freedom to set fares for ‘commercial’ ticket types, e.g. First Class and promotions.
  • Transport Scotland anticipates a collaborative working relationship in order to achieve maximum mutual benefits with the successful franchisee from capital investment in the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Project (EGIP), further extensions of the electrified network and the Borders Railway Project.
  • Bidders will be offered quality incentives based on the existing SQUIRE regime, augmented by incentives based on the National Passenger Satisfaction survey.
  • Bidders will be required to achieve a minimum performance of 92% ppm increasing to 92.5% by year 4 of the franchise.
  • Bidders will be required to purchase or lease suitable rolling stock for each of the Service Groups, which will deliver the specified levels of passenger environment and facilities. The condition shall be maintained by phased updates and refurbishment. Bidders will also be responsible for procuring the Rolling Stock for the EGIP Electrification Programme.
  • Bidders will be required to expand, fully develop and exploit the smartcard infrastructure already being installed in Scotland.
  • Bidders will be required to provide wi-fi capability on all trains.
  • Bidders will be encouraged to engage with Network Rail to consider the benefits of an Alliance or other collaborative working relationships, though this will not be a mandatory requirement.
  • Bidders will be required to achieve a minimum specification of transport integration with other modes and play a key role in securing further integration over the term.
  • Bidders will be asked to provide financial security of a size that is commensurate with the scale of the franchise and its importance to Scotland.

Procurement programme: Key dates

  • July 2013: OJEU notice issued
  • August 2013: Submission of PQQs by bidders
  • November 2013: Issue draft ITT for consultation
  • November 2013: Bidders' responses to draft ITT consultation
  • January 2014: ITT issued
  • April 2014: Submission of ITT responses by bidders
  • October 2014: Winning bidder notified and mobilisation commences
  • April 2015: Franchise commencement

 

Transport integration

Interconnectivity of rail passenger services with other transport modes is central to encouraging people to travel by public transport. Abellio ScotRail will be investing in new facilities to make it easier for customers to make door-to-door journeys e.g. at selected stations there will be Bike & Go cycle hire schemes and cross-modal information screens that will display arrivals and departures of other modes such as bus, ferry or air.

Abellio ScotRail will support new integrated transport services including a phased roll out of greatly improved facilities for cyclists at stations, a new taxi booking service, and by providing much more extensive information about onward travel. There will also be improved timetable connectivity between different modes of transport and more through tickets that combine rail travel with bus, sail and air travel – all working towards improving access and interchange at stations across Scotland.

Smart and integrated ticketing

ScotRail will help to deliver Transport Scotland’s Delivery Strategy – Smart & Integrated Ticketing. This strategy sets out the long term vision:

‘That all journeys on Scotland’s bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment.’

ScotRail is committed to enhancing multi-modal connectivity by developing integrated ticketing in Scotland. We look to ScotRail to take an innovative approach to Smart ticketing making the entire door-to-door journey easier.

As part of the ScotRail Franchise Agreement, ambitious smart ticketing targets have also been set for ScotRail to deliver smart ticketing across Scotland. By April 2019 ScotRail’s integrated set of smart ticketing initiatives is required to deliver 60% of ScotRail’s passengers travelling on smart tickets. By April 2021 this will increase to 65%.

Rail Franchise performance meeting minutes