PASSENGERS have scored a victory as plans on how to improve Scotland’s railway network will now be made public following a campaign against late trains, delays and cancelled services.

The promise to publish the masterplan follows a petition signed by some 20,000 members of the public calling for Abellio to be stripped of its contract to run ScotRail amid complaints from passengers.

It comes a month after the Scottish Government issued an improvement notice to the rail company, stating that performance had “not been at the level the Scottish Government demands and expects” and ordering ScotRail bosses to “deliver an improvement plan outlining how they will improve passenger services”.

Members of the campaign group, 38 Degrees, met Transport Minister Humza Yousaf yesterday in Glasgow to hand over their petition and share their own personal stories of how poor service has disrupted their lives.

Stewart Kilpatrick, head of 38 Degrees in Scotland, said: “We’ve been bombarded with stories from members across Scotland of delays, frustrations, missed appointments, important life events impacted by the poor service offered by ScotRail and they’ve had enough.”

However, Mr Kilpatrick welcomed a commitment from the Transport Minister to “make as many elements of the ScotRail improvement plan public as possible” following the campaign. It also follows pressure from opposition parties and trade unions for the Government to publish details of ScotRail’s improvement plan.

Neil Bibby, Scottish Labour transport spokesman, said the petition should be a “wake-up call” for ministers.

He added: “The Scottish Government received an improvement plan from ScotRail in September, but services are still unacceptable. It is time for Humza Yousaf to explain to passengers what improvements he is going to make, and when these improvements will take place.”

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance – a partnership between the operator and Network Rail, the body that owns and maintain’s the rail infrastructure – said the company was making an “incredible” effort to improve train punctuality.

He insisted it would “absolutely not” reach the point where the number of trains running late could force the Scottish Government to end Abellio’s contract, and stressed a total of 89.6 per cent of all ScotRail services either arrive on time or are less than five minutes late, against the company’s target of 90.3 per cent.

He added new rolling stock from next year would also improve reliability and journey times.

He said: “We are only about 11 months away from the first new trains being introduced on the railways – it’s not two years, it starts in a year.

“Our customers are going to be significantly impressed with our transformation in the next couple of years.”

Mr Yousaf said: “This issue is my top priority and I look forward to seeing some significant improvements, especially once the winter weather is out the way.

“It’s important to recognise ScotRail journeys are up by a staggering third compared to 2007, with 95.5 million journeys last year alone.”