THE head of ScotRail has been handed a promotion to oversee the whole UK network.

Alex Hynes, the managing director of Scotland's Railway – which involves overseeing Network Rail Scotland and ScotRail, has been appointed to the role of director general of rail services at the UK Government’s Department for Transport (DfT).

The National:

The UK Government said in an announcement that Hynes (above) would “play a crucial role as the government drives forward with its plans to reform the railways so they deliver better outcomes for passengers by uniting the oversight of track and train while leveraging private sector innovation and expertise under Great British Railways (GBR)”.

Hynes said: “Our railways play a vital role connecting people right across the country. I look forward to working closely with DfT colleagues to help industry deliver the services that passengers rightly expect, while laying the track for a simpler, more effective rail system.”

READ MORE: Permanently scrap peak fares on ScotRail services, say unions

DfT permanent secretary Bernadette Kelly said: “Bringing a wealth of experience to this role, Alex is uniquely equipped to lead our plan to help deliver better outcomes for passengers in the years ahead, working in close partnership with industry.”

Hynes will move to his new role in April, the UK Government said.

That same month, fares in Scotland will increase by 8.7%, while the scrapping of peak rail fares is being extended for a further three months.

The Scottish Government pilot, which saw an end to peak rail fares and was initially due to last until the end of April, will now finish in June.

Transport Secretary Fiona Hyslop said that keeping fares frozen was “simply no longer sustainable”.

“From 1 April 2024, all ScotRail fares will increase by 8.7%,” she said.

“We know that any increase is unwelcome for passengers, therefore we have kept the rise as low as possible to maintain the attractiveness and affordability of rail as a travel option.”

The final two days of March will see managers at ScotRail take industrial action amid a row over on-call working arrangements.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will walk out on March 30 and 31 in a dispute which dates back to 2021 involving Operations Team Manager grades.