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October 8, 2014

Abellio wins new ten-year ScotRail franchise

Dutch passenger transport group Abellio has been awarded the new ten-year franchise from Transport Scotland to operate most of the country's trains from April 2015.

By Samseer M

Abellio_Transport Scotland

Dutch passenger transport group Abellio has been awarded the new ten-year franchise from Transport Scotland to operate most of the country’s trains from April 2015.

The £6bn ScotRail franchise is expected to deliver improved services for passengers in the network, including brand new trains and flagship stations.

Abellio Group CEO Jeff Hoogesteger said: "We look forward to delivering significant new benefits for passengers under the next franchise.

"Highlights will include new trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh, upgraded intercity services, better connectivity and journey times, innovative new fares, major station investments, a £1m community rail programme and an employee gain share scheme."

The community rail programme will deliver up to 15 new Scottish Community Rail Partnerships and community ambassadors to promote the value and benefits of rail travel.

"We look forward to delivering significant new benefits for passengers under the next franchise."

Abellio will also bring significant changes in the fare and new transport integration programme that connects with ferries, buses and airports.

Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth said: "With a population of 5.3m and 82.5m passenger journeys a year on ScotRail not once did we underestimate the challenge of delivering a high-quality service to existing passengers while encouraging more people to use the network."

FirstGroup is currently operating the network and it will continue to operate First TransPennine Express and First Great Western.

Operators such as Arriva, MTR, National Express and FirstGroup were shortlisted for the new franchise in November 2013.

Meanwhile, Rail union RMT has criticised the new development saying it ruined an opportunity to bring the franchise back into public ownership.


Image: Abellio is set to operate Scottish Railway from April 2015. Photo: courtesy of Abellio Group.

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