The Caley / St. Rollox Railway Springburn Update
- 26 February 2019
Update about the railway works at St.Rollox - 26 July 2019
By Bob Doris MSP
The Caley Rail Works sadly closed on Friday (26th July 2019). Despite repeated representations to the owners Gemini, the company were determined to centralise all their works at their larger site in England. A commercial decision they implemented despite a powerful and passionate campaign from Caley workers and Unions.
A Scottish Government led Stakeholder Group has sought to retain both jobs and operations at The Caley. That stakeholder group was established at my request to the First Minister at First Minister’s Questions when the proposed closure was first announced.
It's aim was to try and retain a future for the Rail Works, whether by persuading the owners Gemini to reverse its decision or by securing another interested party to take over the site. That stakeholder group was unable to persuade Gemini to stay and they have now closed the yard. However the stakeholder group work continues and there is a meeting next week whose focus must be returning jobs to The Caley.
I look forward to hearing at that meeting about the work Scottish Enterprise has been carrying out to seek to return jobs to the Caley site.
There has been calls for the Scottish Government to nationalise the Caley. It became clear that neither the Scottish Government nor Scotrail would be able to direct public works to the site. Combined with no order book that made a form of nationalisation or public control hugely challenging and the Scottish Government could not do so. That did not stop me from pressing the Scottish Government to explore that option, which was a campaign powerfully championed by the Trade Unions. I commend them and the workers for their tireless efforts.
I reiterate my commitment to returning jobs to the Caley site through the stakeholder group which was established at my request.
In April Unite the Union said it had secured a pledge from Gemini Rail to pay £1 million to lay the ground for a takeover of the site and existing employees. However, Gemini Rail said no such offer had been made and a spokesperson for Transport Scotland said ministers and officials had been doing all they can to secure the future of the specialist centre, which opened in 1865.
With no order book and no practical way under current rules for the Scottish Government or ScotRail to direct work to the Caley, it was always going to be a tough ask to save ongoing operations at the St Rollox site. Thankfully most workers appear to have secured alternative employment. That said, it remains hugely disappointing and a blow to Springburn that a railworks with a proud history closes its door today.
The work of the stakeholder group I requested the Scottish Government to establish must continue and Scottish Enterprise has been working hard to attract commercial interest to return railway engineering work to St Rollox.
Although the media attention over the closure of The Caley will slow down, I remain committed to finding options for The Caley over the coming months. I hope we will see the doors re-open in some form and a proud industry return to Springburn.
In doing so we need to look at ways of fundamentally reforming the railway sector to ensure that if and when jobs return they are sustainable and that the Scottish Government has a meaningful way of offering strategic support.
Update about the railway works at St.Rollox (The Caley) - 27 February 2019
By Bob Doris MSP
This week received a reply to a letter I wrote to Porterbrook, a railway leasing company responsible for overseeing the tendering of contracts for work that could be done at the historic railway works at St Rollox. My letter was in response to information received during a members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament (Wednesday 20 Feb) led by myself in an effort to save jobs and operations following current operator Gemini’s proposals to pull out of the famous site.
It has been revealed that there is currently a tender to refurbish nearly 100 Scotrail and Northern Rail Class 170 carriages and Porterbrook will decide shortly which company will carry out that work. With the order book at St Rollox due to run down by the end of July this year, this contract represents an opportunity to secure some much-needed work beyond that time. Gemini may very well win that work and I to ensure that, if they do, it is done in Springburn and not at their yard in England.
I want to commend the highly skilled, motivated and dedicated workforce in my constituency at St Rollox Railway Works. They have provided world-leading and high-quality services for the railway industry since 1856. St Rollox’s history of excellence means that it would be a tragedy for the local community and contrary to the interests of the railway sector should Gemini close the site.
For those reasons, I would urge Porterbrook to give full consideration to awarding Gemini the contract for the Class 170s specifically on the basis that Gemini carry out this work at St Rollox. This could secure work in my constituency for the next three years.
This could provide jobs for workers in my costituency. However, I undertand Gemini did not bid for the Class 170 work. It was also clear that neither ScotRail or the Scottish Government could direct work to to individual sites. This is a legacy of Conservative privatisation of the UK railway sector, something Labour when last in power did not take steps to unpick.
You can read the letter to Mary Grant here:- https://drive.google.com/open?id=1vt0tKGj4EuwVlJyX-pgKZeR7LgSQJJJd
Update about the railway works at St.Rollox (The Caley) - 26 February 2019
By Bob Doris MSP
Today I led a business debate about the future of The Caley, a railworks in my constituency. You can read the full debate here:-
Rasing The Caley at First Ministers Questions - 13 December 2018
Today I raised the closure of The Caley railworks in Springburn at First Ministers Questions. You can read my question and the First Ministers responce here:-
I will share further updates on developments at The Caley here on this page.