Great Britain proposes changes in franchising system

The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has presented a new vision for country’s railways, including the plans to end the operational divide between track and train and an evolution of the franchising system.
The proposals also include commitments to expand the railway network and complementary changes to the franchising system to ensure that the railway is prepared to manage the challenges of the future, while maintaining the railway infrastructure in public ownership.
Within the franchising system, the changes will include the first of the new generation of long-term regional partnerships on the East Coast Mainline, which will be introduced from 2020 – the East Coast Partnership between the public sector and a private partner will be operated by a single management, under a single brand and overseen by a single leader; rolling out joint teams running day to day operations across the South Eastern network with plans to introduce a new Alliance Director, responsible for a joint team operating the trains and tracks; introducing a joint team to run the East Midlands franchise following next year’s franchise competition; introducing smaller train companies, ensuring that every line, station and passenger is central to each train operator’s strategy – this includes splitting up the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise in 2021, and consulting on a new West of England franchise.
At the heart of the new strategy is a commitment to improve passenger experience across the network and take advantage of new technology to improve services. This includes major changes that will extend passenger rights – including compensation for passengers when trains are more than 15 minutes late. We are also supporting the introduction of a Rail Ombudsman to ensure all passengers are treated fairly.
The vision also pledges to introduce digital rail across more of the country and includes funding to develop schemes on the Transpennine Route, on the South East Route and East London Line, and on the Moorgate Branch. It also reinforces the important role for freight on the rail network to support the British economy and environment.

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