Key services and freight routes to be protected. Rail services in Scotland will move to a reduced timetable from Monday (23 March) onwards.
This is a decision that has been taken to protect services for essential workers and allow vital freight trains to continue to operate.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“Following discussions with rail industry partners, passenger services will see a reduction as we continue to tackle the coronavirus.
“We know that rail provides an important service in moving passengers and goods around the country however we will reach a point where travel is reduced to essential journeys only.
“Moving to a reduced timetable will not only help ensure some passenger services continue to run, it will enable freight to be prioritised so goods and emergency supplies such as medicines can be moved around the country.
“Constructive dialogue has been held with rail unions with discussion focused on protecting rail staff while they make a significant contribution to keeping passengers and goods moving as much as possible in these challenging circumstances
“We are also investigating ways to provide proportionate relief to operators, while also ensuring contractual incentives remain to mitigate the impact of doing so. Any changes to rail franchise contracts, including funding mechanisms, will be made in the best interests of the public and business communities.’
Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, said:
“We are facing an unprecedented challenge on Scotland’s Railway and revising the timetable will help to provide a critical service for the key workers across the country.
“Our people are committed and are working flat out on the frontline to help keep the country moving, while also keeping themselves and customers safe.
“The railway has an important role to play during this crisis and we are working closely with the Scottish Government to do all we can.”
The reduction in services will be similar to a Sunday service, with some additional first and late last trains for key staff. Off peak passenger services may be further reduced in relation to demand.
Maggie Simpson, RFG Director General
“In these unprecedented times, the rail freight industry is doing all it can to ensure delivery of vital supplies for supermarkets and retailers, manufacturers and businesses, and to support communities across Scotland. We welcome the support of Scottish Government and Scotland’s Railway in ensuring freight services are prioritised on the network.”