East West Rail to be accelerated and integrated
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has created a company charged with delivering the East West Rail project, calling it “one of the most strategically important rail projects that can unlock housing and development”.
He said the line’s closure (postBeeching) was a decision now regretted. “To put it bluntly, it is one of our most important corridors,” he said.
Most of the old route remains, but is partially derelict, he said, adding: “Despite millions of pounds of pre-funding, it is stuck in a long pipeline of Network Rail projects that are funded for some time in the next decade.
“I want to go faster. I want to get going. I am going to establish East West Rail, which will become a new and separate organisation to Network Rail.
“In the short term it will get on with the task of accelerating the permissions needed to reopen the route. But its main task will be to secure private sector involvement to design, build and operate the route as an integrated organisation. It will lead to the creation of Britain’s first new integrated railway for decades.”
The new organisation will work with the National Infrastructure Commission as it plans the development of the corridor. It will be established early next year, and will be chaired by former Chiltern Railways Chief Executive Rob Brighouse.
NR Chief Executive Mark Carne said: “Competition must be at the heart of any organisation that wants to behave like a private sector business. Competition breeds efficiency and innovation, and will further encourage our own teams to push aside the barriers holding them back.”