SCOTRAIL services will be taken into public ownership, Scotland’s Transport Secretary has announced.

Michael Matheson told MSPs the rail service will be run through an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.

The takeover will happen when the current franchise with Abellio ends, currently expected in March 2022.

READ MORE: Newlands Road: Man suffers horror face wounds after being attacked by blade in Glasgow

Mr Matheson said: “I have repeatedly stated the current franchising system is no longer fit for purpose.

“Following a detailed assessment process and given the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, alongside the continuing delays to the UK Government White Paper on rail reform, I have decided that it would not be appropriate to award a franchise agreement to any party at this time, either through a competition or a direct award.

“That is why I have confirmed that, from the expiry of the current franchise, ScotRail services will be provided in public hands through a company wholly owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. This is in line with our operator of last resort duty.

“ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government-owned entity, with their terms and conditions protected.

“This approach will provide a stable platform for ScotRail services and certainty for passengers and staff.”