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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 15:50 GMT
Agreement reached in rail dispute
Glasgow Central
Glasgow Central, the hub for SPT's west of Scotland services
A deal has been struck between the Scottish Executive and the country's largest public transport body.

Transport Minister Tavish Scott had threatened to strip the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive (SPT) of its rail powers.

He asked SPT to accept a reduced role in managing and monitoring train services in the west of Scotland - or face losing all influence.

But he backed off from the threat after 90 minutes of talks on Tuesday.

He welcomed the agreement which had been reached, saying: "We have been able to provide additional reassurances sought for staff, which we were always committed to achieving."

The real problem is that no-one knows who is really in charge of delivering the major rail projects in Scotland
Fergus Ewing
SNP transport spokesman

SPT's chairman, Alistair Watson, said one of the main obstacles had been cleared at the meeting.

The hurdle had centred on the continued role of SPT in developing, monitoring and managing the rail network in the west of Scotland.

Mr Watson said the agreement was "a huge boost of confidence" for SPT.

The meeting came after correspondence was leaked in which Mr Scott threatened to take away SPT's remaining rail powers unless it accepted a limited role being offered by the executive.

'Staggering arrogance'

Mr Watson in turn accused the minister of flouting the "will of parliament" and said he was taking legal advice.

New Scottish Conservative Party leader Annabel Goldie said the exchange revealed "staggering arrogance" by Mr Scott in suggesting he knew better than SPT how to run trains.

The Scottish National Party's transport spokesman Fergus Ewing said: "The real problem is that no-one knows who is really in charge of delivering the major rail projects in Scotland.

"Instead of clarity we have the usual muddle. Scotland's urgently-needed transport links are clogged up in a quagmire of quangos."

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