The First Minister has been reflecting on her plans for a second vote following the General Election.
Northern Railway Chief To Take Over Top Job At Scotrail
The head of northern England's leading trains operator is to take over at the helm of ScotRail.
Alex Hynes, the current managing director of Northern, will take over from Phil Verster as head of the ScotRail Alliance.
Mr Verster stood down as managing director on Friday to take up the same role at the East West rail project, a new line linking Oxford and Cambridge.
He had been in the post for less than two years during a turbulent period for the company, which has faced calls to be stripped of its £7 billion 10-year franchise to run Scotland's railways after being ordered to put an improvement plan in place when performance slipped below contracted standards last year.
Mr Hynes has nearly 20 years' experience in the industry and has been managing director of the Northern franchise for the past three and half years, during which he is said to have "delivered their best-ever customer satisfaction scores as well as record levels of positive employee engagement''.
He said: "I am delighted to have been appointed to lead the ScotRail Alliance, this cutting-edge arrangement, which brings together the management of ScotRail and Network Rail to deliver the very best for customers.
"The ScotRail Alliance is delivering one of the largest programmes of investment, change and modernisation since the railway was built.
"To be part of that, and the plans to vastly improve services and capacity for customers, is hugely exciting for me.''
Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: "Alex has a proven track record delivering rail improvement and investment programmes, and is the ideal replacement.
"We are currently investing in a fleet of 70 new faster, longer and greener trains, which will transform the rail travel experience of our customers and we are delighted to have Alex in place to lead this work.''
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, added: "We are very pleased that Alex is joining Network Rail to lead the ScotRail Alliance.
"This is one of the most pressurised, high-profile roles in the whole railway industry and we look forward to helping him succeed.''
The Scottish Government says the merger would make railway policing more accountable.
Grants ranging from £500 up to £10,000 are being allocated to 494 grassroots organisations across the country.
A HMICS report on how the service is managed and delivered by the SPA makes 23 recommendations for improvement.
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