Latest Rail News

08.07.15

HS1 chief to investigate NR’s future ‘shape and financing’

Nicola Shaw, chief executive of HS1, is to ‘advise’ the government on how it should approach the longer-term future shape and financing of Network Rail. 

Working closely with Sir Peter Hendy, Network Rail’s new chairman, Shaw will conclude her work before Budget 2016. 

Within the chancellor’s Summer Budget 2015 document, it was stated that the government will change the way it channels public money through the rail industry, directing it through the train operating companies, so that “Network Rail focuses firmly on the needs of train operators and, through them, passengers”. 

According to the Treasury, this will put customers of the railway back in the driving seat in demanding efficiency and improvements that matter to them, making the best use of scarce capacity on the rail network. 

The government added that is has appointed Sir Peter to get this Parliament’s rail investment programme back on a sustainable footing, alongside other reforms to make Network Rail a more “focused commercial body”.  He is expected to report back by autumn 2015 with a plan to get the rail investment programme back onto a sustainable footing. 

Sir Peter and Mark Carne, CEO of Network Rail, have also been asked to continue with the work started in Network Rail to “devolve more power to route managers closer to the front line”, so that the railways are more focused on delivering what passengers need and to drive comparative benchmarking of the efficiency and effectiveness of individual routes. 

Following the chancellor’s Budget, a Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are committed to improving Britain’s railways and the efficiency of the industry. We welcome the support for the moves we are making to develop further our existing business model of greater devolution to the front line coupled with the benefits of a strong centre. 

“And we are keen to support any initiatives which can simplify industry funding, financing and investment as we deliver unprecedented improvements to the rail network.” 

It was also stated that the government will establish a dedicated body to focus on pursuing opportunities to realise value from public land and property assets in the rail network to both maximise the benefit to local communities and reduce the burden of public debt. 

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