Rail services in Scotland will be brought into public ownership from next year, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has said.
Mr Matheson announced in 2019 that the current contract with operator Abellio would be cancelled from March next year.
The Transport Secretary said it would not be advisable to seek a successor to Abellio during the pandemic.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Matheson said: “Following a detailed assessment process and given the uncertainty caused by Covid 19, alongside the continuing delays to the UK Government white paper on rail reform, I have decided that it would not be appropriate to award a franchise agreement to any party at this time, either through a competition or a direct award.
“That is why I have confirmed that, from the expiry of the current franchise, ScotRail services will be provided in public hands through a company wholly owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.
“This is in line with our operator of last resort duty.
“ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government-owned entity, with their terms and conditions protected.
“This approach will provide a stable platform for ScotRail services and certainty for passengers and staff.”