East West Rail to be ac­cel­er­ated and in­te­grated

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

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.”

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