The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed the announcement of a new government initiative to improve rail services by bringing train and track operations closer together.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the plans, which include the closer alignment of incentives between the management of infrastructure and the operation of train services, and the creation of East West Rail, a new integrated rail operation which will provide a link between Oxford and Cambridge.
Mr Grayling said: ‘East West Rail will provide a commuter route for the crucial centres on its route and will provide the transport spine for additional housing and business development in a corridor which is one of the government’s priority areas for the future of our country.
‘We want to see closer working across the industry, to resolve problems more quickly – putting the needs of the passenger first.’
Better operation is intended to be achieved through new rail franchises, the first of which will be on the South Eastern and East Midlands lines. The franchises are due to be awarded in 2018.
Rhian Kelly, CBI Infrastructure Director, said: ‘Day in, day out, Britain’s businesses rely on our railways to move their goods, services and people up and down the country, so the government’s focus on improving the network is welcome news. Bringing track and train operations closer together should mean more efficient delivery of investment and better outcomes for people and businesses.’