Latest Rail News

12.10.18

Rail review: Grayling confirms no major changes until 2020

Rail commuters could continue to face disruption until major changes are made to the rail franchising system in 2020, following the transport secretary’s speech to MPs yesterday.

Chris Grayling said he “can’t stand by” with the collapse of franchises such as Virgin Trains East Coast  and current industry struggles to deliver improvements to the rail networks, after the chaos caused by new timetables implemented in May which left the journeys of thousands of commuters disrupted by cancellations and delays.

Last month Grayling commissioned a ‘root-and-branch’ review of the rail industry, to be chaired by former British Airways boss Keith Williams and supported by an external panel of experts – including Roger Marsh, who chairs a new body representing all 11 LEPs in the north of England called NP11.

Other panel members include:

  • Dick Fearn, independent chair of Network Rail’s Western Route Supervisory Board and former chief executive of Irish Rail
  • Tom Harris, former transport minister and MP for Glasgow South
  • Margaret Llewellyn OBE, chair of Network Rail’s Wales Route Supervisory Board and a non-executive director of the Development Bank of Wales
  • Dr Alice Maynard CBE, TfL board member and the former chair of Scope
  • Tony Poulter, non-executive board member at the DfT and chair of the East Coast Partnership

“The review will look at how the railway is organised to deliver for passengers. It will look forensically at the different options, and then make recommendations on what will best deliver results in different areas of the country,” the transport secretary told MPs in the Commons.

The review will conclude with a White Paper in autumn 2019, which will set out its findings and explain how we will deliver reform. Grayling noted that he expects reform to begin from 2020, allowing passengers to see benefits before the next election.

Many will argue that having to deal with the status quo for the next year at minimum will mean not much will change immediately to the quality and reliability of services. Areas hit hardest by the disruption to the rail networks — such as Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester — have suffered a considerable fall in passengers compared to the previous year.

The recommendations of the review should support the delivery of:

  • Commercial models for the provision of rail services that prioritise the interests of passengers and taxpayers
  • Rail industry structures that promote clear accountability and effective joint-working for both passengers and the freight sector
  • A system that is financially sustainable and able to address long-term cost pressures
  • A railway that is able to offer good value fares for passengers, while keeping costs down for taxpayers
  • Improved industrial relations, to reduce disruption and improve reliability for passengers
  • A rail sector with the agility to respond to future challenges and opportunities

In his speech, Grayling also slammed the door shut on the prospect of renationalisation: “There is an expectation that taking on hundreds of millions of pounds of debt onto the government books will magically resolve every problem.

“This fails to recognise that many of the problems that customers faced this year were down to the nationalised part of the railways. It also creates the sense that a government-controlled rebrand would somehow make every train work on time.

“Those who make this argument fail to tell passengers that the much-needed investment that is taking place today would be at risk, and that taxpayers’ money would be diverted from public services to subsidise losses.”

Last month Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said pre-emptively shutting the door to nationalisation “fetters” the rail review and constrains expert advice.

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: David Mirzoeff, PA Images

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

14/05/2019Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

Scrapping the £56bn HS2 project could pave the way for 28 separate local infrastructure schemes to be funded instead with the case “g... more >
DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

14/05/2019DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

The DfT has called for new technologies to revolutionise travel for older people and those with disabilities, but the RMT has “reacted with... more >
First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

13/05/2019First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

HS2 is on the “verge of passing the point of no return” and the amount of money spent would make scrapping the flagship project &ldqu... 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

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
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 >

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

Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

13/05/2019Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

Professor Meiling Zhu, chair of mechanical engineering and head of the Energy Harvesting Research Group (EHRG) at the University of Exeter, intro... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

13/05/2019The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), gives her view on the state of the UK’s ... more >
NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

13/05/2019NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) chief executive Neil Robertson returns to write for RTM, this time, to assess the digital skills shor... more >
Delivering cost-effective electrification

13/05/2019Delivering cost-effective electrification

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), sets out the findings of a new report on how rail electrification can... more >
5G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

13/05/20195G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

Simon Holmes, group head of digital (engineering) at FirstGroup, introduces us to the 5G solution being delivered for the rail sector.  ... more >