LABOUR has come under fire for indicating it would hand powers over Scotland's railways back to Westminster.

While the Scottish Government oversees ScotRail's train services, Network Rail, which handles the rail infrastructure, remains controlled by the UK government.

The SNP has accused Labour of “undermining devolution” after MSPs rejected calls from Labour for the Scottish Government to end the ScotRail franchise held by Dutch transport firm Abellio early.

Colin Smyth, Labour's transport spokesman, said on BBC Good Morning Scotland that the party planned “a single GB-wide company” to run railways, which SNP MSPs say effectively hands power over services north of the border to Westminster.

READ MORE: Move to end ScotRail franchise early is rejected

In a Holyrood debate, Labour voted against an SNP amendment that called for “the overdue and necessary change to full Scottish public sector control of the structure, governance and operation of the Scottish railway system.”

HeraldScotland: Scottish Labour MSP Colin Smyth

Labour MSP had condemned the Scottish Nationalists and the Tories uniting to prevent nationalisation of railways north of the border by rejecting a call to strip Abellio of the ScotRail contract by 2022.

Concerns among SNP MSPs over Labour moves to devolve responsibility for train services away from Scotland surfaced after Mr Smyth said: "We are not proposing a return to British Rail, what we are proposing is a publicly owned company that run rail services across the whole of the UK."

Asked why that would be better, he said: "Well, the reality is we would have a real service that is actually run for passengers instead of rail services that are run for profits. The fact [is] we would have a single GB-wide company, with all the decisions on Scottish routes made here in Scotland, to avoid the fragmentation we have at the moment where people who run the tracks are separate from the people who run the trains."

READ MORE:  Average of almost 50 trains a day cancelled by ScotRail

Commenting, SNP's John Mason MSP, who is co-convener of the cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament on Rail said: “Labour’s empty rhetoric has been well and truly exposed – their proposals seriously undermine devolution.

“As things stand, we have the absurd position where responsibility for rail is split between two governments – with the trains Scottish and the tracks British.

“Not only do Labour refuse to back the much-needed devolution of Network Rail, they actually want to remove existing powers from Holyrood.

“Labour were the ones who blocked Holyrood from having the power to consider a public sector bid in the first place.

“Now they’re demanding that we end the existing franchise early in order to pass the contract to a single British-wide company that doesn’t even exist. This is frankly embarrassing.

“Full devolution of services currently under the control of Network Rail would help to improve performance on the railways and allow for a coherent, joined-up approach to transport, which delivers for passengers across Scotland.”

More than 74,000 services have been cancelled since the Dutch firm took over the franchise in April 2015, an average of 47 per day Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth warned that any change of franchise would result in “massive upheaval” and even greater “uncertainty” for workers and commuters before Wednesday's Scottish Parliament debate.