Inside Great British Railways Bill


The government has today unveiled its draft bill for reforming Britain’s beleaguered railway network through a state-owned unifying body.

The draft Rail Reform Bill, which will now enter pre-legislative scrutiny, will see the creation of the long-awaited Great British Railways (GBR).

GBR, initially put forward by Boris Johnson in 2021, would constitute one of the biggest planned industry shake-ups in decades.

It follows a troubled post-pandemic period, with rail operator’s still struggling to recoup finances since lockdown wiped out passenger numbers and amid a ceaseless industrial dispute.

The project aims to create a “guiding mind” for the rail sector, to reduce pesky ministerial meddling in rail operator’s finances and the daily operation of the network.

But the reforms have been delayed repeatedly, falling well down the legislative agenda of recent governments, prompting fears the idea could be scrapped entirely ahead of a looming general election.

Labour has backed the idea of a guiding mind body of sorts, but wants to bring the railways back into full public ownership.

In a statement, the Department for Transport (DfT) said GBR would “provide clearer lines of accountability and help build a more modern and financially secure sector, and a network that is more adaptable and more efficient.

GBR’s national headquarters will be based in Derby, bringing a range of new high-skilled jobs to the city.

The body will make future decisions on franchising and service as the single point of accountability for performance, as opposed to a prior split between Network Rail and the Secretary of State for transport.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “It’s been nearly 200 years since the birth of the British railways, and with travel patterns having significantly changed over the last few years it is now more important than ever that they keep up with the changing times. 

“This draft Bill demonstrates our commitment to reforming the railways – working with industry, we will move towards a more modern and financially secure rail network that delivers for passengers for the next 200 years too.”

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail said: “Passengers, freight customers and communities are crying out for a simpler, better railway and the publication of the draft Bill is an important step on that journey.

“Bringing track and train together under a guiding mind is by far the best way to improve the service the railway offers, unlock the economic potential of a growing network and reduce the burden on the taxpayer.”

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “It is good news that the Draft Rail Reform Bill has been published, this is another important step in setting up Great British Railways and moving forward with the agreed reforms to improve the railway for the customer. 

“The challenges facing the rail industry are well known, but rail is a vital service and should have a bright future if we work together. I look forward to working with the Government to further develop the reforms needed to deliver for customers.”

Source: City AM

Kehinde Olusegun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

EU probes Chinese train maker over state subsidies - Global construction Rreview

Sat Feb 24 , 2024
The European Commission will investigate a Chinese train maker to see if its bid to supply 20 trains to Bulgaria will be unfair owing to subsidies it may have got from the Chinese government.It’s the commission’s first investigation under the EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation, which came into force in July. […]

You May Like