Rail franchise performance meeting minutes - 4 February 2021


  • Allan Anderson (AA) Transport Scotland
  • Katie Sutton (KS) Transport Scotland
  • Lawrence Southern (LS) Transport Scotland
  • Andrew Harper (AH) Transport Scotland
  • Mark Henderson (MH) Transport Scotland
  • Sarah O’Loughlin (SO) Transport Scotland
  • Oi Hang Chu (OHC) Transport Scotland
  • Phil Dargue (PD) Winder Phillips
  • Nicola Dawson (ND) ScotRail
  • Sam Price (SP) ScotRail
  • Anne Gray (AG) ScotRail
  • Jeff Doherty (JD) ScotRail


  • Hilary Cameron (HC) Transport Scotland

Welcome and Introductions

AA welcomed all attendees to the meeting.

Minutes of Last Meeting – 14 January 2021

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

Actions From Previous Meeting – 14 January 2021

Actions agreed by TS/ASR.

In Depth Discussion – Winter Preparedness Plans

AA introduced the Winter Preparedness in depth discussion, noting that it would touch on both the ‘Customer Experience’ and ‘Operational Performance’ elements of the EMA.

AG delivered a presentation covering Winter Comms for 2020/21. AG noted that the primary reasons for implementing a winter comms plan were to educate customers on the impacts of adverse weather on the railway, raise awareness that timetable changes may be required to facilitate safe railway operation, communicate temporary timetable changes at short notice and notify passengers of the impact of weather conditions on capacity. AG noted that there was a dedicated winter web page as part of the ScotRail website and that winter-specific social media and station comms form part of the overall Winter Comms plan. AG also noted that SR encourage customers to check and plan ahead during adverse weather using the available channels.

AG talked the attendees through the mitigations that ScotRail put in place to combat the impact of adverse weather; the efforts made to keep customers moving in the event of service disruption; ticket acceptance with bus, tram or underground operators and replacement bus services. AG noted that due to the COVID restrictions, ScotRail have been unable to host their usual winter roadshows to engage customers on winter weather preparations. Instead, the relevant messaging has been put out through online and in-station channels. AG advised that weather impact is also monitored via CCTV at the stations. AA thanked AG for the presentation and invited questions from the attendees.

AH asked about ScotRail station operations, to ensure platforms are made safe for passenger use during winter weather. AG noted that the Customer Service Centre carries out a twice a day check via CCTV to locate any areas that may require attention and issue a report around 8am to the Property Services team. AG noted that they also request that train crew call in to the customer service centres if they note any issues that need to be addressed.

PD asked AG what the escalation process was in severe weather and how the ‘step-up’ arrangement functioned as it may progress towards a ‘do not travel’ warning. AG advised that the expected weather impact on a line is assessed according to MET Office travel warnings and Police Scotland guidance, and any alternative road transport is planned in accordance with Transport Scotland roads department and any planned road closures due to the inclement weather. AG advised that sign-off on these arrangements is provided by the on-call director and that if a MET Office ‘red’ warning was in place, this is the point where a ‘do not travel’ message could be brought in.

AG confirmed that Abellio Rail Replacement have a social distancing process in place which limits a 49 seat bus to 10 passengers only which is managed by the driver. AA asked for further detail on the ScoRail contingency app that is used by ScotRail to help manage service disruption. AG advised that the app holds a library of contingency plans and can be used to push notifications to staff regarding severe disruptions, updated information, photographs, ticket acceptance information etc.

Post-meeting update: social distancing arrangements on bus have changed so now carrying 20 customers on a 49 seater.

JD shared a presentation on Fleet Winterisation covering cold weather impact on rolling stock, the winter stage gate review conducted alongside Network Rail, maintenance policies, depot preparation, winter audits, train improvements and lessons learned/options in development. JD noted that stage gate reviews are co-ordinated through Network Rail from all TOCs and functions as a forum to share experience and best practice.

AA thanked JD for the presentation and invited questions from the other attendees. AH asked JD about the use of ice-breaking trains. JD advised he could gather and share further information on this.

Post-meeting note: JD has advised that when identified as part of the EWAT (Weather Action Teleconference), ASR will continue to provide early morning resource to run ice breaking runs.

PD asked JD if there are special arrangements in a sustained period of very cold weather. JD noted that this was now captured within the standard winterisation procedures, with the key elements needed in providing a safe service now captured through the ongoing ‘lessons learnt’ approach. MH asked if there has been any staff feedback on winterisation and any impacts due to social distancing requirements. AG advised that staff are working in bubbles and using additional vans for transportation where needed to allow for social distancing.

KS asked about HSTs and any issues that are seen with them in winter weather. JD advised there have been no significant trends for HSTs, noting they have a winterisation exam in October and all key systems are tested. JD also noted HST underframes are very different to EMU/DMU sets and that the side skirts may also play a role in how winter weather does/does not affect different train types.

AA asked about the work done in keeping station usable in severe weather and how the demarcation between railway and adjourning (e.g. local authority) property is managed, ground cleared etc and whether there is a formal process in place to manage this. AG advised the winter working document that is in place documents the boundaries and that Property Services have an escalation process they can run through with local authorities. SP noted that in broad terms ScotRail need to only work within the boundaries of the railway lease area. There is however close liaison with the relevant Local Authorities.

AA thanked JD and AG for attending the meeting and presenting their packs.

Review of EMA Reporting Pack

TS colleagues have reviewed pack and submitted queries to ASR to provide responses and supporting evidence as required. ND advised that she has received the pack and would work to provide responses in the coming week.

AA asked if any attendees had anything specific to highlight. SP wanted to highlight good KPI performance so far in Period 10.

Committed Obligations Review

TS to review comments received from ASR.

Franchise Performance Report – Any Matters Arising

No matters raised.

Issues of the Moment

No specific matters raised.


No further comments from TS/SR.

Published Date 22 Feb 2021 Type Mode of transport