SIXTY per cent of Scots say trains body Network Rail should be fully devolved to Holyrood, according to a new poll.

The research, carried out by pollsters ScotPulse, was conducted for a report set to be published today.

The paper, titled Is Scotland on the Right Track?, was commissioned by Abellio, which runs the ScotRail franchise.

It was written by former Labour transport minister Tom Harris, who said: “This is not a political or constitutional issue. It is simply about how to best run our railways.”

The report claims there is “massive confusion” over the current rail framework , with around a quarter of people unsure who owns platforms, stations and the trains themselves.

The same level are unclear about who sets pricing and which body is the regulator, while one-third of the public do not know who is responsible for the condition of stations.

While Network Rail is a UK-wide agency of the Department for Transport, it is funded by Holyrood agency Transport Scotland north of the Border.

Responsible for maintaining rail infrastructure, it is ultimately accountable to Westminster.

The Scottish Government has argued that it should take full charge of the body in order to improve performance and ensure best value for taxpayers.

It claims such a move would help to create rail services that “deliver maximum economic and social benefit”.

According to the poll, just one-third of people want decisions related to Network Rail to be overseen by both arms of government.

Harris says the time is right for change, stating: “The public and political debate about the future of Scotland’s railways has suffered from confusion about who is responsible for what. This tends to lead to politicised solutions to any perceived problems which, more often than not, are informed by ideology rather than reality.

“This research, however, makes it clear that the public is focused on operations rather than politics.

“Public support for the operational devolution of Network Rail is clear, with less than one-third favouring the status quo and six in ten favouring a clear structure under the control of the Scottish Government.”

Responding, the Scottish Government said: “We welcome these results which show broad majority support for decisions about the railway network in Scotland being taken by organisations overseen by the Scottish Government.

“This supports our long-held view that a fully devolved Network Rail will provide the most effective and responsive organisation to deliver benefits for Scottish passengers and freight operators.”

However, a spokesperson for Network Rail said: “All decisions about the railway in Scotland are already made in Scotland and Network Rail is already operationally devolved in Scotland with a joint MD running both train and track.”

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that departing Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne is to exit the organisation at the end of September.

He will be succeeded by former Civil Aviation Agency head Andrew Haines this week, but will remain with Network Rail to assist with the body’s five-year investment strategy, according to reports.

Carne, whose pay package came in at £820,000 in 2016-17, turned down his annual £74,000 bonus this year in light of mass cancellations and delays on English routes.

When he announced his retirement in February, he stated: “I will leave knowing that the railway is in good hands and has a great plan for the future.”