Latest Rail News

31.07.18

Rail Delivery Group boss: British railways ‘the envy of Europe’

The director of the rail industry’s membership group has claimed that British railways are the “envy” of Europe.

Director of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) Robert Nisbet told BBC 5 Live yesterday that the nation’s railways are “hugely successful in many ways,” adding that our European counterparts could only dream about having the British kind of performance and punctuality records.

He continued: “A lot of us get on those gleaming fast trains that go from city to city in France, Spain and Italy, but a lot of their commuter lines are terribly inefficient. They have suffered for years with a lack of investment.”

Nisbet’s comments come after weeks of fury and frustration from rail users across the country: an Office of Rail and Road report on Friday slammed Network Rail of “systemic failings” of timetables which caused chaos in May. Yesterday, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham called on Theresa May to “solve the railway chaos” after emergency timetables introduced to recover from the May schedules continued to fail.

Nisbet issued an apology via the Daily Telegraph last night following revelations that his comments were based on a 2013 European Commission passenger satisfaction survey.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “I am sorry as clearly my comments do not reflect the recent experience of some of our customers as I fully understand how frustrating recent disruption in parts of the country has been for people.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail users watchdog Transport Focus, said: “If you are waiting for a cancelled or late train, comments like this are no help whatsoever.

“You have paid for the service promised through the timetable and it should be delivered. Passengers’ lives have been turned upside down. I do not think his comments are useful.”

The RDG has been approached for comment.

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Image credit: Danny Lawson, PA Images

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