The nationalisation of ScotRail is a ‘historic moment’ according to Nicola Sturgeon

Bringing ScotRail into public ownership is an “historic moment” Nicola Sturgeon insisted. With the rail operator ceasing to be run by Abellio from Friday, the Scottish first minister said its move into public ownership was a “significant milestone”.

Sturgeon told travellers:

Obviously from tomorrow services will continue as normal.

It is important we provide reassurance and familiarity to passengers in the immediate terms as we recover from the disruption and impact of the pandemic.

“Sustainable, safe, fit for the future”

But she was clear the change in ownership “provides an opportunity to modernise” and would help to:

Read on...

deliver passenger services which are efficient, sustainable, safe, fit for the future.

To help with that, she pledged staff and travellers would be able to take part in a “national conversation” which would “contribute to the future vision” for the service.

But Tory transport spokesman, Graham Simpson, branded the publicly owned service “Nat Rail”, claiming that issues with lifeline ferry services in Scotland showed that “the SNP is no good at running things”. Raising the issue at first minister’s questions, he asked Sturgeon:

What we do know is we’re going to have rising fares, service cuts and ticket office closures. What part of that is an improvement?

The SNP leader, however, insisted her party had “already delivered significant improvements on our railways” citing several towns which have gained new rail links, with more to follow. She added that this was:

even before the railway comes into public ownership, as it will tomorrow.

Nicola Sturgeon was pressed on the future of ScotRail at First Minister’s Questions (Russell Cheyne/PA)

A new beginning?

Speaking about that, Sturgeon said:

The transition of ScotRail passenger services in to public ownership tomorrow will be a very significant milestone.

It will fulfil a manifesto commitment of this Government and mark a new beginning  for ScotRail.

It provides an opportunity to modernise and deliver passenger services which are efficient, sustainable, safe, fit for the future and which reflect the changing world we  live in.

She went on:

Bringing ScotRail into publish ownership and control is an historic moment, and I am delighted it is happening under this Government.

While she stressed services “will continue as normal” when the change of ownership takes place, the first minister added:

Over the spring we will launch a national conversation offering rail staff, passengers and communities an opportunity to contribute to the future vision for Scotland’s railway and help shape this new beginning for ScotRail.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us