On Tuesday I partially drafted a post about the Scottish Government’s decision to grant the franchise, worth up to £6n over ten years, for Scotrail to a foreign company - the Dutch operator Abellio.
The main point of the post was to discuss how a foreign company could outbid our own excellent National Express or First Group and it seemed it had done so by offering cheap fares. We all know ‘cheap’ fares have to be paid for somehow and my concern was other fares would rise to compensate.
I admit I knew next to nothing about Abellio but (stupidly) trusted the judgement of Keith Brown; after all he’s the person I think would be most suitable for the position of deputy leader of the SNP.
How wrong I was. After reading Kenneth Roy’s article in his Scottish Review yesterday morning I have deleted my draft.
Mr Brown insisted, in the Scottish Parliament last week, that his hands were tied by Westminster legislation and he had been forced to make a decision. Delay would ‘result in massive and unnecessary costs to the public purse’.
Whilst I disagree with Labour’s sudden desperation to have a non-profit making railway in Scotland, I find, after reading Mr Roy’s well researched article, Mr Brown’s reasons for insisting he go ahead with awarding the contract to Abellio are perhaps less than accurate.
Every country deserves an efficient rail service. It seems Scotland is going to have to wait another ten years before there’s any chance of that happening.