Question S4W-29164; Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands (Lab): (Answered 20/01/2016)
To ask the Scottish Government on how many of the 309 weekdays between 15 December 2014 and 12 December 2015 rail services on the Far North Line achieved 100% reliability.
Of the 309 weekdays between 15 December 2014 and 12 December 2015, 100% reliability (that is, no full cancellations, part-cancellations, or incidents where a train failed to stop where it should have stopped) was achieved on 216 days.
Question S4W-28461: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, (Answered 30/11/2015)
To ask the Scottish Government on what days since April 2015 the 06:18 rail service from Wick has been delayed at Muir of Ord due to late running, also broken down by length of the delay.
Derek Mackay: The Scottish Government does not routinely hold information on specific delays per service, however ScotRail has provided the following details on incidents of delay since April 2015 affecting the 06:18 service from Wick between Dingwall and Inverness: [see table]
[FoFNL notes that this reply does not include several services that were terminated at Muir of Ord and so for statistical purposes ceased to exist. It is the 50-60 minute delays which so inconvenience passengers and would be avoided if the Lentran Loop were built.]
Question S4W-28568: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it will take to ensure that the joint working between ScotRail and Network Rail will not (a) be commercialised and (b) compromise the safety of the railway infrastructure.
Derek Mackay: The Scottish Government is clear that a more integrated approach across the whole rail industry is in the best interests of Scotland's railways. The closer collaboration between Network Rail Scotland and Abellio ScotRail places the needs of passengers at its heart through the delivery of high-quality, reliable services, and a more efficient management and operation of the rail network in Scotland.
The terms of the ScotRail Alliance agreement sets out the commercial principles and mechanisms included within the alliance as well as relevant safety obligations. A copy of the terms of the agreement can be accessed at: www.networkrail.co.uk/working-with-us/alliances/
The Scottish Government is clear that any initiatives identified and pursued through the alliance must be compliant with both Network Rail and ScotRail safety management systems and validation processes. The alliance is also subject to broader monitoring from the Office of Rail and Road to ensure legal compliance with regulatory obligations and that the arrangement is transparent and nondiscriminatory.
Question S4W-28569: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on (a) how much and (b) what proportion of railway funding has been provided to Network Rail in Scotland in the last five years.
Derek Mackay: Network Rail's funding requirements for activities in Scotland are determined independently by the Office of Rail in Road in accordance with the requirements and priorities set out by the Scottish Government.
For each financial year the funding provided to Network Rail and other railway funding is set out in Transport Scotland's annual accounts, copies of which can be accessed from: www.transportscotland.gov.uk/topic-contents/84
Question S4W-28570: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what involvement it has with the funding provided to Network Rail in Scotland.
Derek Mackay: In accordance with the requirements of the Railways Act 1993 the Scottish Government is responsible for producing a High Level Output Specification (HLOS) to set out what is to be achieved by railway activities in Scotland and the funding available to support this during the five-year control period set by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
The HLOS for the current regulatory control period (Control Period 5) was published in June 2012. It is then the responsibility of the ORR to establish the outputs that Network Rail is to deliver in Scotland and the funding that will be provided to support this. This was set out in the ORR's final determination in October 2013.
In Scotland Network Rail's funding is largely provided by the Scottish Government by means of direct network grant or by track access charges subsidised through the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchise contracts. The balance between these two channels is set independently by the ORR.
New financing arrangements were put in place following Network Rail's reclassification as a central government body in September 2014 with all borrowing now provided via a loan facility from the UK Government. As part of the arrangements agreed, a separate ring-fenced borrowing limit was set for Network Rail in Scotland which continues to be serviced by the Scottish Government. Alongside the core regulatory responsibilities of the ORR, the Scottish Government continues to monitor Network Rail's financial performance to ensure delivery of the Control Period 5 programme against this limit.
Question S4W-28571: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what governance relationship it (a) has or (b) has sought with Network Rail following its reclassification as a public sector company.
Derek Mackay: Network Rail was reclassified as a UK central government body in September 2014. At that point, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was put in place between the Scottish and UK Governments, which sets out how the Scottish Ministers will be involved in future decisions on Network Rail's governance and financial management. In summary, the Scottish Ministers have a formal role on a range of matters such as Network Rail's business planning and senior appointments.
Under the new arrangements, Network Rail's Accounting Officer, usually the chief executive, will also be required to give evidence on their stewardship of public funds on the Scottish route, when summoned before a committee of the Scottish Parliament. A copy of the MOU can be accessed at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/network-rail-memorandum-of-understanding-between-scottishministers-and-dft
Question S4W-28572: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact in Scotland of the UK Government's summer budget announcement regarding the funding of Network Rail.
Derek Mackay: As the independent industry regulator, the overall framework for railway charges is a matter for the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).The Scottish Government is the primary funder of Network Rail in Scotland and is actively considering the most effective approach to providing funding in future, including the balance between track access charges and grant funding. Refreshed Scottish Government guidance will be issued to the ORR on this matter as part of their upcoming review of access charges for the period 2019-24, which is due to commence early in 2016.
Question S4W-28573: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will seek different arrangements to those set out in the UK Government's summer budget announcement that government subsidies will be paid to train operating companies rather than Network Rail.
Derek Mackay: I refer the member to the answer to question S4W-28572 on 1 December 2015. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at: www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx
Question S4W-28574: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what representations it has made to the Shaw review of the longer-term future shape and financing of Network Rail and whether it will publish any such representations.
Derek Mackay: Both the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities and I met with Nicola Shaw on 8 October 2015. During this meeting, and subject to associated financial arrangements, we pressed the case for the full devolution of Network Rail in Scotland with direct accountability to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. In particular, our strongly held view that this would deliver benefits for rail users through tailored, localised decision making and relationships, among other things helping the ScotRail Alliance to fulfil its potential.
The Scottish Government continues to work closely with the Shaw review team to help inform their considerations. A response to the recent Shaw scoping report will be issued and published in due course.
Question S4W-28575: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2015
To ask the Scottish Government what impact the proposed change in funding to Network Rail will have on the joint working between ScotRail and Network Rail.
Derek Mackay: The proposals announced by the UK Government only affect the way money flows through the rail industry rather than the actual funding being provided. The structure of charges does, however, remain a decision for the Office of Road and Rail (ORR).
As part of their review of charges for the period 2019-24, which is due to commence early in 2016, the Scottish Government will provide guidance to the ORR on the right structure for charges and incentives for Scotland's railways. A key part of this guidance will be a clear expectation that consideration of any new arrangements should help increase transparency and clarity around costs and funding and better align incentives, including between Network Rail and ScotRail though the ScotRail Alliance and with all other passenger and freight operators in Scotland.