Rail reform

PHO:2013.03.12 - Beeching anniversary lecture
Event at the Science Museum, London in 2013 to mark 50 years since the Beeching Report.

The Williams Review was initiated in 2018. Following on from the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements and termination of the franchises, the DfT published the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail on 20 May 2021, proposing the creation of Great British Railways (GBR) and establishing the GBR Transition Team to put the plan into practice.

After many more months of discussion and doubt the new Transport Secretary Mark Harper affirmed his commitment to rail in his George Bradshaw address on 7 February 2023. Railfuture welcomed the commitment to press ahead with rail reform, putting customers first. Our letter to the Rail Minister Huw Merriman identified the key areas for improvement.

Derby was announced as the location of the GBR HQ but the promise of legislation to establish the powers of GBR has morphed into a draft bill, effectively kicking the can down the road until after the general election.

Rail Action Plan

Author: Chris Page - Published Sat 03 of Feb, 2024 18:24 GMT - (0 Reads)
Railfuture advises any prospective government to follow this 10 point action plan, which has been presented to the shadow Rail Minister, Stephen Morgan, and offered to the other political parties.
Time is of the essence for rail. Photo of Waterloo station clock by Chris Page for Railfuture.

Bradshaw address briefing

Author: Ian Brown - Published Wed 08 of Feb, 2023 19:51 GMT - (0 Reads)
The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Transport Secretary, gave an address at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London on 7 February 2023 in what was billed as the big announcement on Great British Railways.  Photo via gov.uk.

Open Access

Author: Stewart Palmer - Published Sun 13 of Nov, 2022 21:38 GMT - (0 Reads)
Railfuture director and vice-president Stewart Palmer, who has and worked in the rail industry for 38 years, puts Railfuture's view on open access passenger operation in Britain. Lumo has shown that rail can attract more passengers and increase revenue if it offers simple high-value product, but not all open access operations have been or will be successful. Lumo class 803 train at Edinburgh. Image by MrBoyt reproduced under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Great British Railways

Author: Ian Brown CBE - Published Thu 27 of May, 2021 22:37 BST - (0 Reads)
Ian Brown, Railfuture Policy Director, has prepared this comprehensive, and hopefully informed, critique on the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail to brief members and stakeholders on it and also the changes that led to it. Things may never be the same again. Image from Spellbound, 1945, by National Board of Review; photo by Selznick International Pictures, Vanguard Films, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The march to devolution

Author: Railfuture Board - Published Mon 15 of Mar, 2021 15:26 GMT - (2740 Reads)
This briefing explains how devolution of responsibility for rail development and planning is evolving and what may be expected from the delayed Williams Rail Review, first announced in September 2018. It has been a traumatic ride since that time, but an announcement from government is expected soon on how our railways will be structured as, hopefully, lockdown continues to be eased. Photo by Dawid Zawiła davealmine, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Emergency Recovery

Author: Ian Brown CBE - Published Tue 22 of Sep, 2020 17:24 BST - (2251 Reads)
A briefing by Ian Brown, Railfuture Policy Director, on the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) with the train operators announced by the Department for Transport on 21 September 2020. Rail services are essential to connect people to work, education and a social life. Photo of Liverpool Street station by Rail Delivery Group.

Decision time

Author: Chris Page - Published Tue 03 of Dec, 2019 17:16 GMT - (3715 Reads)
The snap general election is with us as expected and we have to wait until afterwards to find out what the recommendations of the Williams and Oakervee reviews of franchising and HS2 will be – as amended to make them acceptable to the new government. Enter our competition to propose a new name for HS2 which will capture the public imagination. Image HS2 Ltd.

Multifranchise disservice

Author: Dennis Fancett - Published Sun 10 of Mar, 2019 12:29 GMT - (4057 Reads)
In the first of a series focusing on individual topics raised by the Railfuture response to the Williams review, South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) chair Dennis Fancett highlights the lack of a coordinated timetable on routes served by multiple train operators. Arriva Cross Country and East Coast (now LNER) trains at Newcastle Central - photo by Russel Wills reproduced under Creative Commons.

Williams Rail Review

Author: Ian Brown CBE FCILT - Published Fri 18 of Jan, 2019 13:43 GMT - (6042 Reads)
Railfuture has submitted its initial response to the Williams Rail Review, with the theme of incentivising the rail industry to work efficiently on behalf of its customers. These passengers at Euston want to feel that the industry cares for them, and that disruption is a rarity rather than the norm. Photo Network Rail.

Blueprint for the North

Author: Ian Brown CBE FCILT - Published Fri 11 of Jan, 2019 13:22 GMT - (7055 Reads)

The initial strategic challenge

Railfuture Policy Director Ian Brown contends that rail cannot make any meaningful contribution to growing the North’s economy, or even realise the benefits of new rolling stock and services about to be delivered, without investment in core routes and core stations to enable a further doubling of journeys over the next 15 years. Crowds on the only two through platforms at Manchester Piccadilly demonstrate the need for investment in extra capacity linking Chester, Liverpool, Preston, Manchester, Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds and Hull – photo by Maria Whelan, from Twitter.

The 2018 Rail Review

Author: Ian Brown - Published Wed 31 of Oct, 2018 13:51 GMT - (5201 Reads)
The Rail Review – what are the facts? A briefing by Ian Brown CBE FCILT, Railfuture Policy Director, on the Rail Review announced by Chris Grayling on 20 September 2018. Image: DfT.

Never-never railways

Author: Chris Page - Published Wed 28 of Dec, 2016 18:34 GMT - (12515 Reads)
Investment in new rail infrastructure is essential to provide extra capacity to deal with increasing passenger numbers and promote economic growth. However Network Rail has maxed out its capacity and budget for rail enhancements because the lack of skilled and experienced rail engineers has driven up NR costs, so the government is looking for innovative ways to finance, resource and share risk on more new rail infrastructure projects than Network Rail can handle. The government has given East West Rail the green light, whilst two other potential privately-financed projects, Heathrow Southern Railway and London and Southern Counties Railway, are also vying for government attention.

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