A political row broke out today over plans to adorn all the trains in Scotland with a Saltire livery.

Stations will also be repainted using a dark blue colour scheme, similar to that at Glasgow Central and Edinburgh's Waverley station.

But the move prompted opposition parties to question whether the move was being carried out by the SNP Government for its own "nationalistic" aims.

Transport minister Stewart Stevenson said today that the livery came from Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government agency, and he made some "minor fine tuning" to the plans.

"The design pre-dates the administration," he added on BBC Radio Scotland today.

"I think people will see through the political posturing and say they like fresh trains, they like this image and its a good design that will stand the test of time."

He added that the move will prevent the need to repaint the trains every time a new franchise operator is appointed, thus saving money in the long run.

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said that the change will be "cost neutral" and take place when repainting of the rolling stock is scheduled as part of ongoing maintenance.

But a Labour spokesman added: "This is typical of the SNP.

"People care about whether their train runs on time, not what colour it is painted.

"Repainting the rolling stock will be a huge waste of money.

"We have to ask whether the SNP is getting a Government agency to use the Saltire for their own nationalistic aims, rather than simple patriotic pride in Scotland, which we all share."

The makeover will be officially launched later in the year, but is likely to take three to four years to complete as part of ongoing maintenance programmes.

First ScotRail said today that it will still be readily identifiable as the service provider.

A spokesman added: "We are committed to supporting Transport Scotland in the roll out of a new consistent brand for Scotland's railways."