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Campaigners ‘not convinced’ of benefits of increased open access

Proposals to increase open access to British railways could fail to achieve their goals and waste money currently being spent on upgrades, Campaign for Better Transport has said ahead of tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech.

In a media briefing, the campaign said that the speech could contain an announcement that the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations for a competitive TOC licensing model will be made law.

The campaigners said: “We are not convinced moves to increase the number of open access rail operators will benefit either rail users or the taxpayer or how this would work with other planned reforms, such as efforts to forge closer relationships between train operations and track management through more devolution.

“In fact trying to create choice and spare capacity in this environment could waste some of the billions currently being spent on upgrading and enhancing the network.”

It also called for more of the HS2 Bill, currently in the House of Lords, to be amended to ensure effective integration with the existing rail network, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport and an increase in rail freight.

The most recent edition of RTM features an article by Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager at Campaign for Better Transport, on what the Shaw report means for the rail sector.

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Nonsuchmike   17/05/2016 at 13:49

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but this smacks of hypocrisy just as the Tobacco companies of the US used to bang on about "Smoking doesn't cause lung cancer as it's not proven" years ago, suppressing their own research which did point in that direction. One would advise that maybe a NFP enterprise could have open access and show them how it is done without wasting public money. Whilst listening to the Rail Minister the other day I was struck that she did mention longer platforms, longer trains, new rolling stock, more comfortable, more frequent, quicker, journeys and Crossrail (all things planned and initiated originally under a Labour government, incidentally), yet failed to mention how little in the way of new steel lines being made to improve matters at choke points including connectivity and freight flow. Where was the commitment to double the Felixstowe link which must be the biggest priority now? On the other side of the country, where is the resolve to improve the south west link via a new re-aligned Okehampton route? Or improve passenger and industrial access by initiating the doubling with stations on the Henbury loop? Why do we not have better track access from Peterborough & Leicester to the west midlands and north west? Or building another viaduct @ North Welwyn and driving another tunnel through to take four tracks further north to improve services to the north and Humberside? All for the price set aside to just upgrade the A14 over the next decade and associated counties.

Manchester Mike   17/05/2016 at 14:17

Another kluge to try to make rail privatisation work. There is little transparency in how the open access proponents will actually reduce overall costs of the rail system.

Noam Bleicher   18/05/2016 at 11:42

What we need is a centrally-specified high standard of service on ALL long distance Inter City [capitals intentional] routes, not superb service with comfortable trains on a limited number of routes, like Hull Trains, and utter rubbish, no better than commuter stock, on Cross Country Voyagers. Bring back British Rail.

Martin T   19/05/2016 at 14:44

Isn't the Campaign for Better Transport heavily (but not exclusively) financed by the trade unions? Given that the unions want complete renationalisation then by implication they are opposed to open access. Feels like the paymaster calling the tune.

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