Great British Railways invites stakeholder contributions

The transition team setting up Great British Railways has called for evidence from stakeholders. Views are being invited on how rail can ‘boost the economy, level up the regions and deliver environmentally sustainable transport’.

The call for evidence will last for eight weeks, and run until 4 February.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines is leading the GBR team, which is now laying the foundations for a 30-year plan for rail.

He said: ‘The Whole Industry Strategic Plan will help determine the future of the railway and we want it to be informed by as many different perspectives as possible, to learn from the lessons of the past and to meet the challenges of the future. We hope a wide range of organisations and experts, both inside and outside the rail industry, will respond to our call for evidence, to help us all make the most out of this opportunity to create a railway that truly delivers for all that use, service and depend on it. Together, we will create a simpler, better railway for everyone in Britain.’

Transport secretary Grant Shapps added: ‘A 30-year plan will ensure the railway develops to support our national priorities, whilst building on the reforms of the Williams-Shapps reform offering passengers a better deal and taxpayers better value for money.’

Rail Delivery Group director general Andy Bagnall has welcomed the news. He continued: ‘The whole industry strategic plan is a generational opportunity to develop a long-term vision for rail to be the backbone of a truly integrated, low carbon transport system that delivers more for customers and the whole country.

‘We want to work together across the industry to ensure we have a railway that connects not only British communities to jobs and opportunities, but tackles congestion and makes the air in towns and cities cleaner with every journey.’

Meanwhile, progress is also being made in Scotland towards the nationalisation of the former Abellio ScotRail franchise on 1 April. Transport minister Graeme Dey has announced the appointment of Chris Gibb as chief executive officer and David Lowrie as finance director of Scottish Rail Holdings.

The Scottish Government said work is also continuing ‘to explore the process for recruiting non-executive posts’ within Scottish Rail Holdings.