Question S6O-01052: Stuart McMillan, Greenock and Inverclyde, Scottish National Party, answered 4 May 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the removal of peak fares from ScotRail services.
Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Transport: On April the 1st, ScotRail passenger services were successfully brought into public ownership. This move now offers us the opportunity to take the right actions to make rail travel more sustainable, affordable and accessible for the people of Scotland.
Affordable rail travel, including a consideration of peak rail fares, will be considered by the Fair Fares review. This review will seek to consider the affordability of public transport across the network, whilst also considering how journeys can be better connected through integrated ticketing, for example. In the context of the cost of living crisis it is absolutely essential that all Governments consider how to support an affordable public transport network.
Question S6W-08355: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered 18 May 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to encourage more people to return to travelling by rail.
Jenny Gilruth: Following the pandemic and the move to a publicly owned ScotRail we are committed to encouraging people to return to our railway. We now have the opportunity to ensure that passenger services reflect changing passenger needs and travel behaviours whilst restoring the financial sustainability of rail services in Scotland.
On 9 May, I launched ScotRail's 50 per cent off peak ticket offer [now ended]. This fares offer, funded by the Scottish Government, is the latest 'Yours to Use' initiative and is focused on welcoming customers back to rail as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.
Earlier this year, I announced that our National Rail Conversation will offer rail staff, passengers and communities an opportunity to contribute to the future Vision of Scotland's Railway. This will help us to fully understand what the people of Scotland want and need when it comes to choosing rail as their mode of choice.
Question S6W-09346: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 25 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-08743 by Jenny Gilruth on 14 June 2022, whether it will provide the information requested regarding when it will replace the 25 Class 43 HSTs in the ScotRail fleet; whether it will confirm whether Transport Scotland's position remains that such replacement will occur only when "Network Rail has completed the electrification of all or most of the routes they serve", as reported in The Herald on 21 May 2022; when it anticipates that "the electrification of all or most of the routes they serve" will be completed, and for what reason it did not provide this information in its answer.
Jenny Gilruth: The replacement of train fleets in Scotland, including the HSTs, is aligned with the phases of the Decarbonisation Action Plan, a link to which is provided here.
This timescale is of course subject to continuous review in line with delivering the decarbonisation of the rail network in Scotland affordably and practicably and any other relevant developments, including recommendations arising from the Steering Groups considering the recommendations of, and subsequent analysis from the recent RAIB report into the Carmont accident.
Question S6W-09581: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 29 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government how many battery trains it plans to procure for ScotRail in the next five years.
Jenny Gilruth: Work is proceeding to hold a procurement competition for new battery and electric trains to operate decarbonised rail passenger services on the Fife Circle and Borders routes, which will allow replacement of 42 ScotRail Class 156 diesel trains. We will also use the opportunity to secure options for further electric trains in future.
Question S6W-09580: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 29 July 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions Transport Scotland has had with ScotRail about procuring battery trains to run on Scotland's rail network.
Jenny Gilruth: Abellio ScotRail (at the time), Network Rail and Transport Scotland were all involved in the development work leading to the publication of the Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan in July 2020. Battery trains, supported by partial electrification of routes were set out as an option alongside other forms of rail traction.
Transport Scotland and (now) ScotRail Trains Limited are regularly engaged in discussions over planning for the procurement of new zero emission rolling stock.
Question S6W-09820: Finlay Carson, Galloway and West Dumfries, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered 15 August 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it has plans to introduce free rail travel in Dumfries and Galloway for anyone holding a bus pass.
Jenny Gilruth: The Scottish Government currently has no plans to extend the statutory free bus schemes to include rail services.
We are, however, undertaking a Fair Fares Review that will look at look at the range of discounts and concessionary schemes which are available on all modes including bus, rail and ferry.
Question S6W-10008: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, answered on 16 August 2022
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to encourage a modal shift of HGV traffic to rail, as per the Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan.
Jenny Gilruth: The Scottish Government's leadership in support for rail freight is outlined in our rail freight strategy and put into practice with significant investment and a first of a kind regulatory growth target. Our £25 million ring-fenced fund for rail freight for the period 2019-24 is unique to Scotland and we continue to offer Freight Facilities Grants unlike some other parts of the UK. These funding opportunities are generating private investment in rail freight facilities and unlocking opportunities for rail freight across the country.
Our rolling programme of efficient electrification, detailed in the Rail Decarbonisation Action Plan, will also encourage and facilitate modal shift to rail freight as it brings significant environmental benefits, improves connectivity and creates additional capacity supporting the key role rail freight has to play in helping us achieve our transport emission targets.