Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is to reveal plans to overhaul England’s railway network that will see track and trains operated by the same company.
He will pledge to “put the passenger at the heart of delivery” in plans that will see each rail franchise operated by one joint team but leaving Network Rail and franchise owners as separate entities.
Mr Grayling claimed that the current division between owners and Network rail was confusing for passengers who wanted somebody to be responsible and for the service to work well.
It is hoped that the changes will allow management decisions to be taken more quickly meaning passengers won’t suffer unnecessary delays when it comes to repairs and services.
Mr Grayling will give a speech at the Policy Exchange think-tank in London where he is expected to say: “I believe it will mean they run better on a day-to-day basis. Our railway is much better run by one joined-up team of people. They don’t have to work for the same company. They do have to work in the same team.”
The changes are set to come into force as franchises come up for renewal.
The first joint management teams will be seen in 2018 on the new South Eastern and Midlands routes.
Network Rail Chief Executive, Mark Carne, backed the move. He commented: “We strongly welcome these plans to bring more joined-up working within the industry.
“We have already devolved Network Rail into route-based businesses closer to customers, and the proposals announced today will build on the alliances we have created between these route businesses and train-operators.”
The Unions have been less effusive about the plans. Mick Whelan, General Secretary of the train drivers’ union ASLEF, said: “The failures and tragedies of the Railtrack era remind us that infrastructure should never be run for profit.”