18 December 2018

(S5T-01412) Rail Transport (Festive Period Performance)

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): I refer to my entry in the register of members’ interests.

Has the United Kingdom Government apologised to the Scottish Government for the performance of Network Rail, which it owns?

Michael Matheson: There is absolutely no doubt that, in the past couple of years, and the past year in particular, the performance of Network Rail has had a significant impact on rail service performance in Scotland—so much so that the ORR has initiated proceedings against Network Rail for its failure to respond effectively to address concerns that service operators, including ScotRail, have raised. In excess of 60 per cent of the delays and cancellations in Scotland have been caused by Network Rail. That tells me that there is something seriously wrong with the existing structural arrangements for our rail service.

The fact that Network Rail is not accountable to the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government or the people of Scotland through the Scottish Government is a major weakness in how we can deliver rail services. The sooner that we have direct control over the infrastructure elements of our rail network alongside the passenger provisions in order to deliver a better service for the travelling public in Scotland, the better.

Stewart Stevenson
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