Draft reform bill

Rail Partners response to publication of the draft Rail Reform Bill

Responding to the publication of the draft Rail Reform Bill, Rail Partners chief executive Andy Bagnall said:

‘The publication of the draft bill is a useful step forward, which clearly recognises that train companies add significant value to passengers and freight customers, alongside a guiding mind.

‘Rail reform doesn’t have to be a binary choice between a monopoly railway in public hands and franchising. We must embrace the ‘best of both worlds,’ focusing the system outwards on customers by empowering operators to meet their needs, but also creating a single accountable body so the public knows who is in charge.

‘While not a substitute for legislation, the draft bill kicks off an important process to identify areas of consensus and disagreement between the political parties ahead of a general election. In the meantime we must get on and deliver for customers, so non-legislative measures that support the freight growth target and improve the customer experience, such as more pay as you go, are very welcome.’

Notes to editors

  • The Department for Transport published the draft Rail Reform Bill on Tuesday 20 February 2024, ahead of the Rail Partners George Bradshaw Address: Election special. Media operational note for the Address is available here.
  • Prior to the draft Bill's publication, Rail Partners launched its Manifesto for Rail, a five point plan for any government to get the railway once again delivering for Britain. The five points are:
  1.  Focus the railway on the customer to balance the books
  2. Let operators compete to connect communities
  3. Overhaul fares to offer customers the best value of their journey
  4. Prioritise getting freight off roads and onto rail
  5. Create a new body to oversee the railways

Read the release, and download the Manifesto for Rail in full here: https://railpartners.co.uk/latest/news/rail-partners-launches-manifesto-for-rail-a-five-point-plan-to-achieve-best-of-both-worlds-rail-reform