A Successful Railway

Railfuture want the railway industry to be successful, so that it can grow both in market share and in route miles, to create a bigger better railway network. To make this happen, the industry and government need to get the following ten key success factors right:

  1. Reliability. Passengers expect trains to be on time every time, and always to complete their journey. Railfuture advocate the use of right-time metrics.
  2. Capacity. Passengers should always be able to get a seat; standing should be confined to metro services. Additional trains must be ordered to accommodate growth.
  3. Value for money. Some fares are extremely expensive; others are remarkably cheap. Fares should be set at the level where the industry can demonstrate value for money, given when the ticket is bought, when the journey is made, the quality of the journey experience, and the price of alternative transport options for the journey. Simplifying the fare structure would help customers to make a more informed choice, and so assess value more favourably.
  4. Quicker journeys. More passengers will use the train if journeys are quicker. This can be achieved by running faster services, increasing service frequency, timing services to connect better, and easing pedestrian flow through stations.
  5. Customer service. Customers expect service to be helpful and efficient, and available at all times. Clear and accurate information should be provided; this is especially important in times of disruption. Staff should be ready to go the extra mile to help passengers when necessary.
  6. Modal integration. Passengers make journeys from door to door, not station to station. Empty car and cycle spaces should always be available at stations. Bus links need to be improved so that buses to the surrounding areas stop at the station, and run at times which make good connections with the train.
  7. Network connectivity. At interchange stations, train services should be timed to connect. Where railway lines cross, there should be easy walking routes between stations on each railway line, or an interchange station should be provided, to create new journey opportunities.
  8. Organise for success. The government must ensure that the industry is structured in a way that encourages teamwork and incentivises the industry players to develop their services and markets
  9. Level playing field. Rail should be able to compete with other transport on a level playing field; for example fuel taxes should be equitable, given that rail and air pay for their own infrastructure, whereas road does not. Government investment appraisal rules for rail should be the same as for other modes.
  10. Investment. The government is currently allowing the industry to invest; this must continue so that unit costs can be reduced and growth accommodated without that growth requiring additional subsidy.