Hitachi's UK plant looks to the world market
Sliding seats could enable passenger trains to carry goods
A1 No 60163 Tornado does 100mph
Rail Alliance drives Midlands Engine
GB Railfreight to implement Ideagen safety software
UAV survey company Bridgeway Aerial takes off
Fire at Euston Station causes nationwide rail disruption
DB Cargo UK confirms job cuts and reform
Subsea cable fault detection demonstrated to rail industry
HS2 rolling stock procurement moves forward
Greater accountability and a clear customer focus are the principal requirements for reform of the UK rail sector, according to Keith Williams, the independent chairman of the rail review established by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in the wake of the May 2018 timetable change debacle.
Ahead of a presentation in Bradford on July 16 to update the Northern Powerhouse Partnership grouping of regional leaders in northern England on the review’s current thinking, Williams reiterated to the Financial Timesand the BBC his view that ‘franchising in its current form has had its day’.
Repeating his earlier comments that the franchising model adopted in the mid-1990s was ‘preventing innovation, long-term decision-making and stopping the railway working as a system’, Williams argued that the ‘design and culture’ of the rail sector ‘need a transformation so that the industry prioritises customers’, while providing ‘value to taxpayers’. A new relationship between the public and private sectors should allow the industry to focus on ‘running services’, while ministers should take ‘far fewer decisions’.
Cross-industry consultation over the past six months had confirmed a widely-held view that the Department for Transport ‘needs to step back from the operational minutiae’. The review team was therefore ‘looking closely’ at the suggestion of establishing a new arms-length body ‘to act as a “guiding mind” and help simplify this complex industry’. While the idea would have ‘clear merit’ in principle, Williams warned that any new structure would ‘have to deliver clearer accountability for the public when things go wrong’.
The review team is due to report back to DfT later this year, with a ‘range of proposals’, and Williams emphasised that it would be ‘down to ministers to decide the shape of these reforms’.
Rail union RMT responded angrily to the reports, with General Secretary Mick Cash suggesting that Williams had been ‘hand-picked’ by Grayling to try and get the government ‘off the hook over the privatised chaos on our railways’. Claiming that the review would ‘duck the issue of public ownership’, he described the proposal for ‘creation of a new, unaccountable quango’ as a ‘fix’ which would only benefit ‘big business’.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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 © 2003-2020 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.