Interviews

24.06.19

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future rail franchises

He made the admission on the station’s most popular programme Nick Robinson today (Monday) during a discussion about the Williams Rail Review into the future structure of the whole rail industry.

Mr Haines said: “The current structure of the railways is effectively outgrown. It was introduced at a time of decline in the railways, 25 years ago, but we’ve seen a doubling of passenger numbers since that time.

“The big challenge for the railways at the moment is about culminating growth, and whilst we’ve been focussing on investment, we’ve lost sight of who we’re doing for.

“I don’t really care who’s in charge as long as it’s easier to do the improvement that are needed.”

READ MORE: New Network Rail boss tells MPs he will put passengers’ interests first

He was questioned about the role of network Rail following the Williams Rail Review and asked if the organisation should be responsible for the issuing of future rail franchises.

He added: “If it meant taking things away from network rail that we currently do, I would be up for that. I think it’s completely wrong to say ‘we need change’ but it must start somewhere else.

“There’s a balance to be struck. The amount of public money going into the railway means there’s always going to be government involvement and I think it’s important that they really do set the context, the framework, and the overarching public policy.

“What we’ve got to do is take the day-to-day operation away from government and from Whitehall, whilst leaving them with the big policy choices.

“I think we can do a better job on costs. One of the reasons costs have got out of control is because suddenly the floodgates opened on investment programmes.”

“The supply chain wasn’t mature; our specification wasn’t robust and we hadn’t built our capability. We’re now delivering electrification projects at a fraction of the price that we were five years ago because we’ve built that capability and it would be good to maintain it.”

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Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >