ATOC responds to Government announcement on investment

ATOC responds to Government announcement on investment

Responding to the Government’s announcement on investment in the railways, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:

“It’s good news that Philip Hammond recognises the vital role that the railways have in economic growth and the need for sustained investment, but today’s announcement still leaves several questions unanswered.”

On commuter trains:

“New trains for London’s Thameslink scheme will come as a relief to passengers and operators where new carriages are desperately needed to deal with overcrowding. Carriages released from the Thameslink route will help to tackle overcrowding outside of the capital.

“However, real question marks remain over whether key commuter routes in other parts of the country will be receiving enough new carriages quickly enough to deal with overcrowding.”


On the Intercity Express Programme:

“We will wait to see what the Government has to say in the New Year. The commitment to ensuring through journeys is good as it means passengers won’t have to change trains. This project, started five years ago under the previous Government, has already cost more than £20m in consultancy fees and is yet to produce a single carriage.”

On how new trains are bought:

“The detailed involvement of civil servants in ordering trains is an unwelcome legacy of the previous Government which has brought unnecessary delay and bureaucracy at a time when overcrowding has got worse. Leaving the job to train companies would get things done quicker and cheaper, ensure that the right trains get to the right parts of the country and greatly reduce the cost to the taxpayer.”

On electrification:

“Electric trains are greener, quieter, more reliable and can carry more passengers, so investment in electrifying parts of the network in the North West and to the West of London is good news. We want to see electrification continued and we wait to see whether the Government will extend its programme not just to the Great Western line but also to other parts of the country.”