In response to Network Rail’s announcement that it will be creating a number of new, devolved businesses, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:
“This is a positive first step in line with the reforms to deliver a better railway which train companies and ATOC have been calling for. Creating devolved business units at route level is potentially good news for passengers and taxpayers.
“These changes should start moving decisions about investment and operations away from Network Rail’s centre and closer to passengers. It should also help to drive cost savings by allowing the new units to be benchmarked against each other for efficiency.
“But today’s announcement needs to be the start of a wider programme of change. Devolution should be extended to other Network Rail routes, leaving only a small and lean central organisation to manage network-wide functions in partnership with operators.
“The Government also needs to remove a number of technical obstacles which will otherwise hinder the devolved units and train operators coming together to form new partnerships to save costs and deliver improvements. The momentum of change must now be maintained to ensure that passengers in all parts of the country can benefit sooner rather than later.”