Latest Rail News

21.03.19

Government’s role in new passenger-centric railway ‘will have to change’, says Williams Review lead

The man leading the Williams Rail Review has warned that the government’s role in the UK railways “will have to change” as the industry switches to a more passenger-centric railway.

Keith Williams, the man leading the “root and branch” review of the railways following the chaos of last May’s timetable change, implied that the DfT could take on a more arms-length approach.

Speaking at a rail event in London, Williams said “trade-offs and tough choices” will be “unavoidable” as he set out his vision for “passengers to be at the heart of the future of the railway.”

He stated that it was right for ministers to set the strategic direction for the railway and decide the overall level of public funding, which they are rightly accountable for, but said “some decisions are best taken by those closer to the detailed operations.”

Williams said the DfT has “had to take on roles it never intended to perform, largely because of an absence of clear alternatives” and that it had been “filling a vacuum” in the current structure.

“The Department for Transport’s role and the role of other industry players, will have to change as we begin to realign the sector to focus on its customers,” he told delegates at the event.

In his speech, Williams acknowledged that satisfaction was at its lowest in a decade and that poor communication had been a recent issue – and he also stated that “one thing the sector certainly needs is a move towards more integrated transport networks.”

This comes as the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), Paul Plummer, called for a new organisation to replace the ORR in order to enhance the accountability of decisions about the railway.

Responding to the government’s call for submissions to its Williams Review, Plummer said the change was needed to stop the railway “being used as a political football” as “the lines of accountability are blurred” in the current system.

The findings of the Williams review are due to be published this summer in time for the government to produce a White Paper in the autumn.

Williams has also now set out the criteria that the review will draw upon to develop a new model for the UK rail network as well as launching the next phase of the review’s call for evidence.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

17/04/2019Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

A new interactive map which lets passengers find out about accessibility at stations has been launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to help b... more >
Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

17/04/2019Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

Helium-filled balloons are causing hundreds of train delays at a cost of £1m in taxpayer money every year, Network Rail has revealed. ... more >
Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

17/04/2019Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

Plans for an £80m sea wall to protect the Dawlish coastal rail line from extreme weather have been by approved by Teignbridge District Coun... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >