Labour must “get on board” with full devolution of rail

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has called on Labour MSPs to get behind the full devolution of rail services to Scotland, after a former Labour transport minister urged that the Scottish Parliament be given full responsibility over Network Rail.

Tom Harris, a senior adviser to the Rail Review, said that all lines, signals, stations and infrastructure under the control of Network Rail should be transferred to a new body, answerable to the Scottish Government.

Network Rail is currently responsible for railway infrastructure and is accountable to Westminster, not Holyrood.

In November, Labour MSPs were criticised for voting against the full devolution of rail, despite almost 60% of delays on Scotland’s railways over the last year being attributable to the Tory government’s shambolic operation of Network Rail.

Commenting, Mr McMillan said:

“The SNP in government has consistently called for the full devolution of rail services, but successive Labour and Conservative governments have repeatedly denied Scotland a full say over how its railways are run – talking a good game while doing absolutely nothing to deliver the powers we need.

“The Rail Review gives us an opportunity for meaningful change. Full devolution of services currently under the control of Network Rail would help to improve performance on the railways and make way for a coherent, joined-up approach to transport.

“It’s time for Labour to get on board with the common sense approach – handing over full control of the rail infrastructure to Scotland to help ensure our railways deliver for passengers in my Greenock and Inverclyde constituency.”

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