Latest Rail News

28.10.16

Government has ‘not ruled out’ open access on HS2

Open access operation could be introduced on HS2, transport minister Andrew Jones revealed in response to a written Parliamentary question.

Conservative MP Grant Shapps asked whether the DfT was planning to allow the high-speed rail link to be open access instead of “restricted by franchise”.

In response, Jones said: “The government is considering how best HS2 services should be provided both when operating on the new High Speed and conventional rail networks.

“This includes consideration of franchising options but does not rule out alternative routes for service delivery, to ensure that services deliver the government objectives for HS2, and optimum use is made of total capacity across the entire network to maximise the benefits for passengers and secure a return for taxpayers on the significant investment government is making in HS2.

“No final decision has been taken.”

Open access has received backing from key bodies such as the ORR and the Competition and Markets Authority, whose CEOs have said it could encourage operators to provide better services. The Campaign for Better Transport, however, has said it is ‘not convinced’ by this argument.

In a recent appearance before the Transport Select Committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into rail franchising, Elizabeth de Jong of the Rail Delivery Group pointed out that increased open access would need to be supported by a new funding system. She added that the DfT is due to carry out a consultation on the possibility of a levy on open access operators in December.

(Image c. HS2)

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Comments

[email protected]   28/10/2016 at 22:30

Actually, open access has been turned down by the ORR and the Competition and Markets Authority - for locations where route capacity is recognised to be a constraint, such as the south-east. Strangely they feel this does not apply in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Edinburgh or any of the critical nodes or route sections in between. It would be nice to see their analysis on that.

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