Rail franchise performance meeting minutes - 22 July 2021


  • Allan Anderson (AA) Transport Scotland
  • Oi Hang Chu (OHC) Transport Scotland
  • Mark Henderson (MH) Transport Scotland
  • Lawrence Southern (LS) Transport Scotland
  • Phil Dargue (PD) Winder Phillips
  • Sam Price (SP) ScotRail
  • Nicola Dawson (ND) ScotRail
  • Scott Prentice (ScP) ScotRail
  • David Simpson (DS) ScotRail


  • Katie Sutton (KS) Transport Scotland
  • Hilary Cameron (HC) Transport Scotland
  • Sarah O’Loughlin (SO) Transport Scotland

Welcome and Introductions

AA welcomed all attendees to the meeting.

Minutes of Last Meeting - 24 June 2021

Minutes from last meeting all agreed and taken as read by both TS/SR.

Actions From Previous Meeting - 24 June 2021

Actions discussed and all agreed as complete by TS/SR.

In Depth Discussion - Collaborative Working

DS, ScP and SP talked through the Period 3 deep dive on collaborative working.

Rail Recovery Task Force (RRTF) - DS

DS talked through the background and work undertaken by the Rail Recovery Task Force in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key points highlighted:

  • Membership across Transport Scotland, Network Rail, ScotRail, British Transport Police and Transport Focus to ensure a wide array of knowledge and input.
  • DS highlighted work covering initial lockdown response, stabilisation of services, modified timetable development and reintroductions during the various phases of the pandemic response.
  • Role of the forum has now evolved to help shape future services, continuous performance improvement, responses to special/one off events and safe network operation.
  • DS noted that within the RRTF, 4 subgroups exist to cover comms, performance, trade union engagement and future timetabling.

Performance - DS

  • DS highlighted work completed with RDG on Highland Main Line performance analysis, work that has its roots in the Intercity recovery plan. DS noted that ‘to the second’ running times were being utilised to inform the work and planning for a more resilient HML timetable going forward.
  • Trespass forum with collaboration across the industry has been underway with a view to reducing the impact of trespass on the network.

Timetable - DS

  • DS highlighted that there have been 14 timetable changes since March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that a flexible timetable approach has been important.
  • DS noted the stakeholder consultation with RTPs and the NHS stakeholder group during timetable changes.
  • ScP highlighted that this was a learning experience for ScotRail as the initial timetable changes in March 2020 demonstrated that there was a lack of information on how and where NHS staff were using rail to travel to work.
  • Through the ScotRail marketing team and RTPs, a group was set up to co-ordinate timetables with hospital shift times, and disseminate timetable changes via hospital intranets to keep NHS staff up to date.
  • The group was remobilised in November 2020 as the vaccination rollout started to assist in co-ordinating vaccine centre opening times with rail and bus timetabling.
  • PD queried what the plans were to ensure that the flexible, collaborative approach to working is taken forward. DS noted that through the pandemic, the strength of this approach had become self-evident and that there was broad agreement in management at ScotRail that this approach was beneficial and should be utilised and embedded as much as possible going forward.

Communication and Special Events - ScP

  • A unified message is being demonstrated with comms covering areas such as timetable changes, COVID-19 restriction changes, Queen St launch, Euro 2020, COP26 prep and rail induction briefings for new MSPs, informed through a common briefing document in use across both ScotRail and Network Rail.

Other Transport Operators - ScP

  • Bi-monthly forum covering all operators (including cross-border and freight) in Scotland to facilitate information sharing, timetable discussions and focus on ‘build back better’.
  • Planning for Reston, Levenmouth, Ardrossan Harbour closure, Anderston tunnel closure.

Tourism - ScP

  • Input to Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force – embedding of rail into tourism planning, cities partnerships and Thriving Places scheme.
  • Partnering with DMOs to bid for grants from VisitScotland, further embedding rail into Scotland’s tourism picture.
  • Launch of Class 153 Highland Explorer.
  • MH noted the very positive engagement that has been seen with Community Rail Partnerships.

Mobilisation of ScotRail Trains Limited - SP

  • SP provided an update on how Abellio ScotRail was planning for the transition to ScotRail Trains Ltd. Further updates will be provided at future meetings as the many areas of work required to facilitate a smooth transition progress.

Review of EMA Reporting Pack

LS confirmed the queries from TS colleagues had been circulated to ScotRail.

PD and AA raised the issue of customer feedback around social distancing, mask compliance and other passenger behaviour incidents. SP noted that the social media reporting was also showing an increase in customer feedback around these areas and that as patronage returns, this is likely to continue to increase.

Attendees were in agreement that this could form the basis of the next FPM deep dive as the meeting is due to fall just after the next review of COVID-19 restrictions on 9 August.

Committed Obligations Review

No items to highlight.

Franchise Performance Report - Any Matters Arising

AA highlighted the carriages locked out of use linked to anti-social behaviour appearing on the Franchise Performance Report, and also noted some serious incidents on trains and at stations in recent periods and suggested this may also be a topic worthy of a deep dive at a future meeting. Attendees were in agreement that this could be covered at the September meeting.

Issues of the Moment

PD queried the current status at Troon station following the fire. AA noted the latest update he was aware of was to resume services on 23 July without stopping at Troon, with an aim to begin stopping at Troon the following week if possible.


No items to highlight.

Published Date 18 Aug 2021 Type Mode of transport Topic