Re­form the rail­ways

Rail (UK) - - Contents - Richard Clin­nick As­sis­tant Edi­tor richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk @Clin­nick1

Rail De­liv­ery Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paul Plum­mer calls for a fun­da­men­tal over­haul in the way the in­dus­try is run.

THE way the rail­ways are run and reg­u­lated needs a fun­da­men­tal over­haul, ac­cord­ing to Rail De­liv­ery Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paul Plum­mer.

Writ­ing in The Times on August 16, he called for a ‘once in a gen­er­a­tion re­form’ of the rail in­dus­try.

Plum­mer said that it was “clearer than ever that we need to change how we run our rail­way”, and that any new op­er­a­tional model must have pas­sen­gers at its heart.

He said Gov­ern­ment must make long-term de­ci­sions but step back from im­pos­ing well-mean­ing de­tails that sti­fle pri­vate sec­tor in­no­va­tion.

Plum­mer added that po­ten­tial re­forms in­clude greater de­vo­lu­tion, the cre­ation of ser­vices more tai­lored and re­spon­sive to the needs of cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties, a bet­ter align­ment of track and train, and us­ing com­pe­ti­tion to give cus­tomers bet­ter ser­vices.

In the ar­ti­cle, Plum­mer said the pri­vate sec­tor, work­ing in part­ner­ship with the pub­lic sec­tor, has a vi­tal role to play in de­liv­er­ing the bet­ter rail­way ev­ery­body wants. To achieve this, how­ever, the pri­vate sec­tor’s role needs to be ‘re­cast’ so that rail ser­vices im­prove for cus­tomers, com­mu­ni­ties and the econ­omy.

Greater de­vo­lu­tion, said Plum­mer, is needed to re­alise the ben­e­fits of an in­te­grated trans­port sys­tem, with fewer de­ci­sions taken in West­min­ster and more power given to lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The North and the South West are iden­ti­fied as re­gions that could ben­e­fit, with de­vo­lu­tion hav­ing worked well in Scotland, Mersey­side and Lon­don.

All par­ties - train com­pa­nies, gov­ern­ments, Net­work Rail and peo­ple work­ing in rail - need to change, he said, adding: “We don’t have all the an­swers, but we know that a new model for our rail­ways must have pas­sen­gers at its heart and ob­jec­tives must be aligned. We want gov­ern­ments and po­lit­i­cal par­ties of all colours to join us and reimag­ine a rail­way fit not just for to­day but for the next two decades.”

JOHN RUDD.

LNER 43307 leads a north­bound ex­press through Marholm, near Peter­bor­ough, on August 13, pass­ing Cross­Coun­try 170117 on a Stansted Air­port-Birm­ing­ham New Street run. Rail De­liv­ery Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paul Plum­mer be­lieves the in­dus­try re­quires a fun­da­men­tal over­haul.

Rail De­liv­ery Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paul Plum­mer.

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