Press release 19th May 2021

The end of rail franchising – will the passenger notice any improvement?

Rail campaigners have given a cautious welcome to the long awaited Williams review, which will confirm the end of rail franchising.

“It seems that the government wants to make rail work to improve the passenger experience and support economic growth.” said Chris Page, chair of the campaign group Railfuture, “But the devil of course will be in the detail, and we have to wait for the White Paper for that. We will be looking for flexibility and responsiveness, a can-do attitude and whether the new structure will create a joined-up railway which works.

“There are many important questions that remain unanswered.

When will passengers notice a difference?

How will we get people back on the trains? – We need action now, and rail managers should be focused on that, not on whether they have a job in the new structure.

When will we see an end to inflation-busting fare rises? They need to be linked to CPI not RPI

Will fares be repriced to deliver value for money and remove the anomalies which lead to split-ticketing whilst retaining the flexibility of choice, including walk-up travel?

Will weekend closures be avoided during the summer when many people will be taking staycations?

Until we get the answers to these questions, we can’t tell whether the reality matches the rhetoric.”

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk