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Old February 16th 20, 09:45 AM posted to uk.railway,
Recliner[_4_] Recliner[_4_] is offline
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Default Government to scrap franchising

Basil Jet wrote:

Yeah, paywall, I know, but no-one else has it and it seems too important
not to let the group know.

It's no different to all the other leaks we've had about the Williams
review and implementation. Here's an extract from the Borisgraph story:

An eagerly-anticipated “root and branch” review of the railways is due to
recommend scrapping the rail franchises in the coming weeks.

It is set to be replaced with a system of outsourcing contracts over the
*coming years as ministers gradually *regain control of mainline and local

All that remains is for Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, to agree funding
for the overhaul with newly appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak, according to
Whitehall sources.

The changes are at the heart of sweeping reforms drawn up by former British
Airways boss Keith Williams, who was commissioned to review the rail
industry more than a year ago. Mr Williams’ report, which is understood to
be ready for publication, will provide a basis for a Government White Paper
and a new legal framework.

The plans signal Government determination to address public anger over the
state of Britain’s rail services. However, they risk claims of
nationalisation via the back door.

Train operators would receive a fixed fee from the Government, which would
effectively own all routes and collect fares. In contrast, franchisee train
operators currently collect fares and pay a cut to the Exchequer,
encouraging them to maximise income.

Rail industry leaders last night attacked the prospect of a
“one-size-fits-all” approach and called for an 11th-hour rethink. John
Thomas, director of policy at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail
companies want bold reform and we have proposed replacing the current
franchising system with different types of contracts that better deliver
for passengers, all overseen by an independent body and underpinned by a
reformed fares system. We don’t think today’s system should be *replaced by
a one-size-fits all approach.

“While tightly specified concession and management contracts can work well
in, for example, commuter markets, we believe outcome-based contracts can
be a better option on long-distance routes. They give operators more
flexibility to innovate and *respond to passengers’ evolving expectations
in markets where there is scope to encourage more to travel by train.”

The Williams review will recommend an overhaul of Britain’s complicated
ticketing system. A “single-leg” pricing model will be proposed, making it
easier for customers to access the cheapest fare.

The change would bring an end to “split-ticketing” whereby customers are
forced to buy multiple tickets for the same journey to secure the lowest

The system is due to be overseen by a new organisation described as a “fat
controller” in a recent interview with Mr Williams, in reference to the
Thomas the Tank Engine character. It would award contracts, replacing the
Government’s current role in franchising, and monitor the performance of
train companies and Network Rail, the owner of tracks and stations. Some
stations could be up for sale to private owners under the plans.

The proposed new structures would do away with stringent contractual
obligations on train operators that impose penalties for delays and
overcrowding, which Mr Williams is understood to believe has focused
operators’ time on protracted rows with officials rather than delivering
better services.


Needless to say, the illustration is out-of-date. Its a fGW
Barbie-liveried, full-length HST. At least it's a franchise that's still