New probe launched into ‘broken’ rail industry
A ‘ROOT and branch’ review of Britain’s struggling rail industry will be launched this week, amid claims the entire privatised system is ‘broken’.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will announce the study after months of disruption over new timetables and amid strikes over the role of train guards. He is expected to reveal that John Lewis deputy chairman Keith Williams will lead the review.
Industry insiders are understood to be lobbying for a similar model to John Lewis, where workers are partners in the firm. The move comes amid mounting anger at the cost and standard of Britain’s rail services, with Labour saying the ‘broken’ system must be taken back into public control.
The 12-month review will seek to learn lessons from the failure of the East Coast Mainline franchise – the third time in a decade it has collapsed.
Mr Grayling has also faced calls to resign over his handling of the disruption faced by passengers on Thameslink and Great Northern trains this year, following the introduction of new timetables.
It will also focus on the future ‘balance of public and private sector involvement’ as Tory Ministers fend off calls for full renationalisation.
The Government insists that privatisation has helped ‘transform’ the industry, doubling passenger numbers and delivering more services.
But Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said the current franchised system was ‘broken beyond repair, adding: ‘No amount of tinkering will change the fact that rail franchising has failed.’