In response to the Office of Rail Regulation’s support for Network Rail’s new alliances with train operators, Paul Plummer, group strategy director, said:
“Network Rail is committed to bringing down barriers to greater co-operation in the rail industry. By alliancing, we can work more efficiently with ultimate benefits to the taxpayer, passengers and freight users.
“Working with train operators in an alliance framework we will be able to better align incentives and see quicker, more joined-up, decision making. There will be a joint focus to drive continuous safety improvement and the needs of all customers – franchised, open access or freight – will be safeguarded.”
Network Rail’s draft policy statement on alliances is published on its website.
Alliance framework agreements have so far been made or about to be made with several operators and discussions continue with all other operators on how Network Rail can work more closely together with them and these may lead to further alliance agreements. Network Rail is also discussing the opportunity for further alliancing as part of refranchising.
A potentially different kind of alliance, called a deep alliance, is being developed involving the Wessex route (one of Network Rail’s devolved business units) and South West Trains. This may see the establishment of a single, senior joint management team formed to look after both train and track on the Wessex route operating out of Waterloo – a much more integrated way of working.