Station naming deals announced
Runaway Rail Car Kicked Loose by Teen Hits New York Station
Škoda unveils its second tram for the Chinese market
Wabtec to buy Faiveley Transport for US$1·8bn
Constantine tram extension contract
Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter
Ottawa urban rail gets federal funding
UK and Italian operators order Vossloh locomotives
First Great Western and Eversholt sign Hitachi AT300 train contract
Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi invite interest in DIKKM railway
Network Rail will lose control over Britain’s train tracks as power is handed to private operators in a major shake-up of the railway system, the Government is reportedly to announce next week.
The move, which would mark the biggest change to the running of the rail network in decades, would see British rail companies such as Virgin Trains and Southern becoming responsible for repairs and maintenance for the first time, ending state-owned Network Rail’s monopoly.
Transport minister Chris Grayling will announce the plans in a speech to the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange on Tuesday, according to The Daily Telegraph. The Government hopes this shift of control will incentivise train companies to carry out repairs more quickly and possibly bring in cheaper fares, .
It comes as the rail industry announced train fares would go up by an average of 2.3 per cent – more than double the rate of inflation – from 2 January 2017, with some unregulated fares likely to result in fares rise of considerably more.
Currently Britain’s train tracks are owned by Network Rail while trains are controlled by completely separate companies.
Mr Grayling has spoken previously of his lack of confidence in the railway system and his desire to give train operators more control.
As the Conservatives’ front-bench transport spokesman 10 years ago, he said: “We think, with hindsight, that the complete separation of track and train into separate businesses at the time of privatisation was not right for our railways.
“The separation has helped push up the cost of running the railways – and hence fares – and has slowed decisions about capacity improvements.
“Too many people and organisations are now involved in getting things done – so nothing happens.”
In publicity material sent out ahead of the speech, Policy Exchange reportedly said Mr Grayling’s vision will “put the passenger at its heart, ensuring that journeys are safe, quick, and provide value for money”.
For Labour, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said that “privatising” the rail infrastructure would be an “irresponsible move”.
“The last thing our railways need is another layer of fragmentation and complexity. Train operating companies will only engage with this if they can extract more profit from taxpayers and fare-payers,” he said.
“It's remarkable that operators such as Southern who display a cavalier attitude towards cost-cutting and safety might be invited to take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the tracks.
This article first appeared on www.independent.co.uk
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2021 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.