Latest Rail News


New East West Rail route chair revealed along with smart ticketing plans

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced the chair of his proposed new East West Rail organisation, which will deliver Britain’s first new privatised line in decades, along with other measures to improve passenger experience on the railways such as smart ticketing.

In his speech to the Conservative policy think-tank Policy Exchange last night, Grayling declared that East West Rail, which is planned to eventually run between Oxford and Norwich, will be established in the New Year and chaired by Rob Brighouse, the former CEO of Chiltern Rail.

He also explained that the delivery of East West Rail will be linked with other initiatives in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor such as housing, science, technology and innovation.

“East West Rail will provide a commuter route for the crucial centres on its corridor and will provide the transport spine for additional housing and business development in a corridor which is one of the government’s priority areas for the future of our country,” Grayling said.

“I am very pleased to announce that the former chief executive of Chiltern Rail, Rob Brighouse, the man already responsible for reopening the route between London Marylebone and Oxford, has agreed to chair the new East West Rail organisation.”

East West Rail’s main task will be to secure private sector involvement in designing, building and operating the route as an integrated organisation separate to the nation’s infrastructure owner Network Rail, Grayling explained.

The new organisation will co-operate with the National Infrastructure Commission to identify how best to deliver the project, particularly giving thought to the potential benefits that the transport infrastructure will bring to the planned economic development around it. 

The £110 million funding provided by the chancellor in the Autumn Statement will allow us to do the initial work on the project, and also to carry out enabling works that will mean that it can co-exist with HS2 at the point the two routes cross in Buckinghamshire which would otherwise miss the opportunity to develop the route until HS2 was completed,” he said.

Smart Ticketing Delivery Board

Elsewhere in his speech Grayling announced his vision to introduce smart ticketing across Britain’s railway network, enabling passengers to use mobile phones, contactless cards or smart cards to buy their tickets along with more pay-as-you-go options.

This scheme was also provided for in the autumn statement with £80m pledged to support further roll-out of smart ticketing by the end of 2018. Grayling has established a special transport project team in the DfT to oversee the project and confirmed that he will chair the first Smart Ticketing Delivery Board to drive forward progress.

“I have mandated my department and the industry to make rapid progress introducing smart ticketing across the network. The ingredients are there to deliver something much better – and we want to see these key reforms happen quickly,” he said.

Southern is expected to become the first regional operator to properly introduce top-up systems to their services by introducing KeyGo to their smartcard. Grayling hopes that other TOCs will begin to offer similar choice to their passengers as the required infrastructure reaches other major UK cities.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Banbury Horse   08/12/2016 at 17:49

“I am very pleased to announce ... reopening the route between London Marylebone and Oxford...” This shows what a depth of railway knowledge this latest Transport Secretary has. There was never a "route" or service between Marylebone and Oxford to "re-open" unless you class changing from the Great Central to the Great Western at Princes Risborough a "route". This is a new service never before offered.

Jerry Alderson   09/12/2016 at 15:24

Better wording: "the man already responsible for creating the high-quality route between London Marylebone and Oxford, which will fully open on 11 December 2016."

Rail Realist   10/12/2016 at 17:10

Those of us with a long memory will recall the Oxford Cambridge line was never listed for closure under the Beeching report. Only later 'enlightened' railway managers chose to close it no doubt to make a name for themselves Congratulations to Chilterns for the Bicester Oxford initiative and lets hope that the Bicester and Aylesbury to Bletchley proposals can make similar progress. It was not that long ago that Chilterns DMUs ran to Bletchley for maintenance so the route is still intact. Surely a simple solution of low cost modular signalling, steel sleeper track can get this re-instated far quicker than being envisaged. Forget all the consultant's reports, business cases and fancy technology, just get on and do it. Admittedly, Bedford Cambridge is a much bigger challenge

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Government calls for companies to take part in 5G TransPennine pilot

20/08/2018Government calls for companies to take part in 5G TransPennine pilot

The government is inviting companies to take part in a new 5G project on the TransPennine Railway line between Leeds and Manchester. The Tra... more >
First upgraded ScotRail InterCity train arrives in Scotland, rollout completed by late 2019

20/08/2018First upgraded ScotRail InterCity train arrives in Scotland, rollout completed by late 2019

ScotRail’s first upgraded InterCity train has arrived in Scotland as part of the revamped High Speed Trains (HST) that will connect Scotlan... more >
Hitachi Class 802s to be put in operation following GWR press launch

20/08/2018Hitachi Class 802s to be put in operation following GWR press launch

Train operator Greater Western Railway (GWR) launched its new Hitachi Class 802 range on Friday, holding a media run from Penzance to Exeter to c... 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


Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... 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

A radical solution to the employment crisis

24/07/2018A radical solution to the employment crisis

Peter Cayless, founder and creative director at Working Eye, talks about an innovative solution to employment in the rail industry that might jus... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Passengers at the heart of Thameslink

31/07/2018Passengers at the heart of Thameslink

As Thameslink launches a new timetable, Richard Freeston-Clough, operations and communications officer at London TravelWatch, looks back at the w... more >
Customers want more rail freight

31/07/2018Customers want more rail freight

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager at the Campaign for Better Transport, makes a socioeconomic case for continued investment not only in t... more >
Freight for the Borderlands' untapped potential

31/07/2018Freight for the Borderlands' untapped potential

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle and the government’s Borderlands Deal Champion, discusses the untapped potential for growth in the Borderla... more >
British manufacturing in buoyant demand for steel

31/07/2018British manufacturing in buoyant demand for steel

Roger Neary, head of logistics sales at DB Cargo UK, discusses the rail freight company’s £6m expansion of its steel warehousing faci... more >