Train operators have been set up to fail
Our verdict on 2019 is that the railways must focus on performance. The Northern franchise made the headlines but several other operators are suffering performance problems, often for reasons outside their control which can be traced back to past poor government decision making. The way that the government assesses franchise bids means that bidders only win if they quote a low price and assume that everything will go according to plan. When it does not, it is the passenger who suffers.
To improve performance the railways must increase capacity to accommodate future users and deliver on the 10 key policy areas in our 2030 manifesto. The government must make decisions now.