Comment: Dutch will have to deliver and big time

The decision to hand over the running of Scotland’s train services to Dutch firm Abellio predictably provoked huge debate.

With growing demands for rail to be placed back into public hands, it was always going to be so.

And the fact that the massive contract is going to an overseas company, Abellio, from a Scottish-based company, First, only added extra spice to the announcement.

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But it matters little to average commuters who is running our trains. Most passengers only care about getting an efficient, on-time and value-for-money service.

First may not be held in high regard among some commuters but experts suggest the firm has done a pretty decent job and merely lost out to a stronger bid.

That being so, everyone will now be looking for the Dutch firm to deliver and big time.

The Scottish Government is in control of the contract and will be tasked with holding them to 

Things like the bike hire scheme for stations sound interesting and we will be keen to see the detail of how that will work.

Cheaper fares for seats booked far in advance won’t benefit everyone but any savings will be welcomed. The promise of 80 new trains by December 2017 looks good.

On paper then, there should be much to hearten weary travellers.

The test will come when Abellio takes over for the next ten years.

We’ll be expecting promises to be converted into an improved service across the network.

Hiring a bike at Waverley could be great but then so would a fast, cheap, efficient rail services which would leave time for a gentle stroll to your destination or enough money for a cab.

This contract was a big and controversial decision for the Scottish Government.

The controversy will go away much quicker if the trains run on time.