ORR slams lack of leadership in rail industry

19 September 2018



The Office of Rail and Road inquiry into the timetable chaos on Britain’s railways earlier this year will say, in a damning report to be published tomorrow, that there is no proper leadership in the rail industry.


The eagerly-awaited report, by Professor Stephen Glaister, into the disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables in May, will blame the train companies; the Department for Transport; and Network Rail.


Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: ‘The ORR report puts the blame where it belongs – at the door of the train operating companies; the DfT; and Network Rail. The train companies did not plan properly. They do not employ enough drivers to run the services they promise, in their franchise applications, to deliver; and they started driver training far too late. The DfT was, as usual, asleep at the wheel. And Network Rail was behind on track enhancements.


‘The result was that passengers suffered cancellations, delays and frustration for months. Which would have been far, far worse had it not been for train drivers, and other staff, who showed enormous flexibility in helping the companies through a crisis of their own devising.


‘Drivers – who went to work not knowing when or even if they would be able to get home – went above and beyond in helping the train companies provide a service. If it hadn’t been for our help, the disruption would have been far worse than it was.


‘The call for proper leadership – a clear indictment of Chris Grayling’s failure to deliver at the DfT – lends weight to suggestions that Theresa May’s railway review, which will also be announced tomorrow, will end up recommending a new version of the Strategic Rail Authority.’








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