Manifesto for Rail - Rail Partners

Rail Partners Launch Manifesto for a Thriving British Railway, Urging Reform Before Election

Rail Partners, the body which represents leading train operating companies in Britain, has unveiled their "Manifesto for Rail", outlining a five-point plan for politicians to revitalise the railway and deliver maximum value for passengers, taxpayers, and the economy.

The publication comes ahead of the 2024 George Bradshaw Address, which is due to take place next Tuesday (20 February) where both parties will present their visions for the future of rail ahead of the general election.

The manifesto advocates for a "best of both worlds" approach, combining the expertise of private operators with a single public body accountable for the overall performance of the railway. Rail Partners argue, that this will unlock the full potential of rail, attracting passengers back post-pandemic and boosting economic growth while delivering social and environmental benefits.

The five elements cover a focus on customer service, including allowing operators the freedom to use their commercial expertise. They also advocate for an operating model which takes key decisions out of the hands of Whitehall.

The manifesto also argues that more open access operations are needed to help plug gaps on the existing long-distance timetable and an overhaul of fares to help customers find the best price.

A renewed focus on getting freight onto the rail tracks also forms part of the manifesto, which Rail Partners argues will provide a less congested road system and help the environment. In order to do this, they argue an investment in the infrastructure and more financial incentives are needed.

Lastly, Rail Partners suggest a new body should also be set up to oversee the rail network, which would act as a single point of accountability.

Andy Bagnall, chief executive of Rail Partners, said: "Our manifesto offers a clear roadmap for the next government to unlock the full potential of Britain's railways. It's not about the structure, but about delivering reliable, affordable, and efficient services for everyone.

“We believe in a 'best of both worlds' approach, empowering operators to meet customer needs while ensuring public accountability."

Photo: Rail Partners


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