The Rail Delivery Group, which is the leadership group for Britain’s railway industry, has expressed its support for the Government’s publication of the franchising programme, which has been announced today.
Graham Smith, Director-General of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “As the leadership group for the rail industry, the Rail Delivery Group is pleased that the Secretary of State’s announcement has restored clarity to the franchising programme. Many of the RDG’s franchising priorities were included in the Brown Review report and it is encouraging that this announcement demonstrates the Government’s support for Brown’s recommendations on restarting the franchise programme”.
The announcement by the Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, includes:
* A full, detailed and sustainable franchising programme of three to four competitions a year over the next eight years;
* The immediate start of the competition for the East Coast franchise;
* The intention to exercise a number of contractual extensions with current operators and also to negotiate a series of direct awards with current operators;
* The creation of a Franchise Advisory Panel, headed by Richard Brown; and
* A revised franchising policy statement.
Graham Smith continued: “Britain’s railways have enjoyed significant growth and investment; restoring passenger, taxpayer and investor confidence in the franchising process will allow this growth to continue. A restart of the franchising programme, a transparent procurement process and clarity on what Government wishes the passenger railway to provide will all help re-establish confidence and enable franchisees to deliver improved services for passengers.”
The Rail Delivery Group submitted franchising priorities to the independent review of franchising chaired by Richard Brown in November 2012. Since that time the RDG and its members have held detailed discussions with the Department for Transport regarding the timing and content of the franchising programme.
Graham Smith concluded: “Rail Delivery Group members will continue to work collaboratively with government to deliver the new programme, including franchise extensions where these are required, to get the best deal for passengers.”