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. GBR will go ahead to create a joined-up railway, with more customer focus and an enhanced role for the private sector. It must dramatically improve the cost efficiency of operating, maintaining and enhancing the railway to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers.
Railfuture welcomed the commitment to press ahead with rail reform, putting customers first. We will review proposals for implementation against the GBR objectives above and the country’s wider economic, social, transport and environmental objectives. In the short term some quick wins are needed to show progress and deliver benefits for customers now. Our letter to the Rail Minister Huw Merriman identified the key areas for improvement.
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.
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.
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 by The Times.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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