Rail sleeper service between Scotland and London to be split off claims union
A NEW company could be brought in to run sleeper services between Scotland and London under plans for a radical shake-up of the rail franchise.
The Scottish Government is expected to announce changes to rail services next week following a long-running consultation.
Aslef, the train drivers’ union, yesterday claimed the changes would see the existing ScotRail franchise split in two, with the sleeper service given its own longer franchise, and a new five-year deal introduced for all other services.
Kevin Lindsay, Scottish secretary of Aslef, said he had been told about the changes during a meeting with infrastructure secretary Alex Neil.
He said: “There’s an announcement going to be made next week in parliament. The big one for me is that the ScotRail franchise is going to be split in two – sleepers will be one and the rest of ScotRail will be on the other.
“I would think that is a backwards step – it’s the further fragmentation of the railway in Scotland. It’s another private company coming in taking profits out of the railway.”
Mr Lindsay said he had also been promised there would be no station closures as part of next week’s announcement.
However, a spokesman for Transport Scotland denied any decisions had been taken on the future of the franchise.
He said: “Aslef have jumped the gun. Final decisions on the future of rail have still to be reached. As part of our consultation a number of options for the future of rail were discussed with trade unions. These options were part of the consultation paper and are nothing new. Once final decisions have been reached ministers will set out their plans to parliament.”
A ScotRail spokesman said: “We are not aware of the make-up or length of the next franchise.”
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