White Paper on Rail – main points

26 July 2007

The government’s White Paper on Transport released on Tuesday details what the Department for Transport (DfT) is committed to doing in the industry over the coming decades. The government claims its 30 year strategy is ‘the most positive statement about the growth and development of Britain’s Railways in 50 years’.

The union is drawing up a full response to the document, but in the interim Keith Norman says he fears the department is looking at the industry through rose tinted spectacles, especially with its reference to the railways as ‘a modern success story’. Keith says, ‘It certainly has the potential to be this – but we have a long way to go before this hope becomes fact.’

Key messages

  • Over 1,300 new carriages -nearly 100,000 new seats.
  • £10bn will be invested in capacity enhancement 2009-14 to accommodate 22.5% growth in passenger demand
  • £5.5bn on Thameslink.
  • £600m new money to improve stations and tackle bottlenecks at Birmingham New Street and Reading.
  • A third of a billion to prepare for the introduction of the Intercity Express trains and next generation signalling.
  • £150m for the refurbishment of 150 stations.
  • Simplified fares and a fairer balance of investment from taxpayers and farepayers.
  • Modernised tickets – smartcards and tickets to mobile.
  • £200m for a new Strategic Freight Network.
  • Provision of a small ‘pool’ of new trains to improve rural and regional services, backing Community Rail, and – for the first time – a commitment to not close any rural lines.

 

Safety and Reliability

  • The Govt. claims railway is safer than ever before and reliability is back to where it was before the appalling accident at Hatfield in 2000 – despite the railway carrying many more people and being used much more intensively.
  • By 2014 reliability will be over 92% - among the best in Europe.

 

Quality of service for passengers – tickets and stations

  • Simplification of fares structure, to three simple categories across the whole network: “Anytime”, “Off peak” “Super Off peak”, which can be bought on the day or in advance.
  • Modernisation of tickets and ticket retailing – with smartcards being rolled out on the railways in London and our other major cities. Long distance tickets will be able to be sent to mobile phones.
  • 150 mid-sized stations – the backbone of the national network – will be refurbished and modernised with investment of £150m from Government. This is on top of £370m of accessibility funding already announced.
  • Any increases in regulated tickets will remain capped at RPI+1%. These account for over half the use of the railway and include season tickets and saver fares.

 

Environment

The industry will be publishing its carbon reduction targets next year and taking action with initiatives like regenerative braking, on-train energy metering and driver-training.

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