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Friday, June 20, 2008

Rail - Scotland

Transport Scotland now has responsibility for the majority of rail powers in Scotland, enabling us to plan future services and target investment.

A safe, efficient rail network is good for the economy. Commuter routes are needed to get people to work. Rail links are vital to move freight across the country, such as coal to keep our power stations working. Rail can improve the quality of life for Scotland's communities by connecting people to better access to health, education and employment opportunities.

Scotland’s rail network has around 340 railway stations an d 3,000 kilometres of track; over 62 million passenger journeys are made on the network each year.

What's more, the rail network in the west of Scotland is the most heavily used commuter network in the UK outside London and caters for around 60% of passenger journeys made in Scotland.

Browse this section for information about who's who in the Scottish rail industry, what we do, and what you can expect from us and from Scotland's rail network.

Rail Industry in Scotland

The rail industry in Scotland has faced almost constant change in the ten years since privitisation. The recent transfer of rail responsibilities to Transport Scotland is designed to herald the start of a period of stability, sustained growth and integration.

Britain's rail network was nationalised in 1947 and then privatised in 1994 following the Railways Act 1993, when various private companies became responsible for the railways:

* Railtrack took over the rail infrastructure
* Five freight operating companies (FOCs) and twenty-five train operating companies (TOCs) were awarded franchises
* Three rolling stock companies (ROSCOs) were created to lease rail stock 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 in order to run the railway infrastructure on a not-for-profit basis.

In January 2004, Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling announced a review of the structure of the rail industry.

This review resulted in the Railways Act 2005, under which the Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government) and the UK Government agreed that Scottish Ministers will take greater responsibility for rail powers in Scotland, including:

* 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

Safety and the licensing of railway operators will remain reserved to UK Ministers.

In June 2004 the Scottish Executive published the transport white paper Scotland's Transport Future - the transport white paper setting out the Scottish Executive's vision for an integrated transport system that will successfully meet the challenges of Scotland's transport future.

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