A Vision for Scotland's Railways

ASLEF's joint report on the future of Scotland's railways
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Scotland cannot meet its environmental obligations without a world-class rail service that shifts people and goods from cars and lorries onto trains. This requires a service that is fully staffed, with affordable fares, stations that are accessible and trains that are clean, green and attractive.

What is needed is an ambition for Scotland’s railways that is expansive, that encourages people to make rail their first travel choice and increases freight capacity.


Our long-term vision for Scotland's railways:

  • It should be a publicly operated and governed system run as public service and not for private profit
  • A system that helps Scotland meet its wider environmental and public policy ambitions
  • A railway that is supported by public subsidy
  • Is fully staffed
  • That reinvests in rail infrastructure, to help grow the economy.
  • Takes ScotRail (and the Serco operated Caledonian Sleeper) back under public ownership permanently
  • A railway that is part of a wider integrated public transport system with through ticketing
  • Is part of an industrial strategy that recognises rail services are a vital part of
  • Scotland’s economy helping create jobs and growth
  • Has a democratic regulatory and governance structure
  • Has a cross representation of Scottish society and rail interests at the heart of decision making
  • Has representation from all four trade unions on the board of the new operator
  • Has local political representatives on the board
  • Has passenger representatives on the board


A new publicly operated passenger service in Scotland should:

  • Increase the number of staff in stations and ticket offices
  • Expand the ticket office network
  • End driver only trains and ensure every train has at least one safety-critical guard on board
  • Increase the number of cleaners and train presentation staff
  • Improve industrial relations, settle the long-running disputes and pay rail workers what they deserve
  • Develop a driver apprenticeship scheme and create 100 apprenticeships across the service
  • Reject the Docherty report and ScotRail ‘Fit for the Future document’
  • Commit to supporting and properly resourcing ScotRail as it seeks to recover demand post-pandemic
  • Commit to expanding rail services to serve the nighttime and early morning economy and consider 24/7 running
  • Reduce ticket prices, abolish peak fares and simplify the ticketing system
  • Offer free rail travel for all under 24’s and over 60’s
  • Improve accessibility for older and disabled people and their carers

These recommendations have been made by railway workers and their trade unions and are offered in good faith with the best interests of their industry at the forefront of their minds.