Morton slams decision to ‘go Dutch’ on rail services

A Moray councillor has slammed the decision to strip Scottish based company First Group of the franchise to operate train services in Scotland.

The Aberdeen based company will hand over control of the service from April 2015 to Dutch transport operator Abellio after the £6billion franchise was awarded to them by Transport Minister Keith Brown.

Abellio say that the move will move their headquarters to Glasgow and will create 50 new jobs and secure 150 existing posts. Amongst a raft of pledges being made by the new national rail operator is a £5 advanced ticket for travel between any two Scottish cities.

New trains are also being promised and the deal includes a £2.5million promise on improvements to Aberdeen station for a major new shopping development.

However, Moray Labour councillor Sean Morton is unimpressed by the move, saying that it was a “clear failure in leadership by a man trying to be deputy leader of the SNP”.

Councillor Morton said: “It is clear that in a few months time Scotland will have full control over transport policy at which time we could have run the ScotRail franchise on a not-for-profit basis.

“First made £95 million in profit – over the next decade the new Dutch state-owned company will do very well indeed.

“The SNP could have made sure those profits were going back to the tax-payer, being invested in ScotRail and in lower fares.

“Faced with the chance to make a difference in Scotland they bottled it. Politics before people, that should be Keith Brown’s campaign slogan.”

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