In one of the biggest "we were wrongs" for a while, David Cameron and Chris Grayling will announce today that they want to reverse John Major’s division of responsibility for trains and railways. They will say that companies that manage both wheel and rail would be
more efficient and require less subsidy.
Network Rail has a very poor reputation after
Potters Bar and other incidents but will do its best to preserve its
monopoly. Grayling will continue the theme of being positive about the public sector however:
"We regard the people who work on our railways as
skilled professionals, responsible for the safety, operation, logistics
and customer service of our network."
The railway review will lead into a Strategy Paper that will rival the Government’s own review in 2007. It will focus on integrating the network whilst keeping fares and overcrowding down, and take these points as givens:
- Any new integrated organisations will work under franchise-type
- More scope for
long-term investment decisions is needed
- Any new structure must protect the interests
of freight users and smaller train operators.
- Rail workers should have a share in the
future financial success of the railways (in order to discourage strikes)