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