THE first step in the reform of Britain’s railway is underway after the Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) launched a call for evidence for a 30-year Whole Industry Strategic Plan that will help plan the future of the rail industry.

The call by GBRTT follows the launch of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail on May 19, which aims to move away from the previous franchise model. GBRTT says the call for evidence, which is open until February 4, will ask for views on how rail can boost the economy, level up regions and deliver environmentally sustainable transport.

GBRTT will ask stakeholders to provide their views on how rail can contribute to five strategic objectives set by the British government. These are:

  • meeting customers’ needs
  • delivering financial sustainability
  • contributing to long-term economic growth
  • levelling up and connectivity, and
  • delivering environmental sustainability.

“From dealing with the challenges of coronavirus to the decarbonising of the sector, the rail landscape as we know it is changing and we need to ensure our railways are able to keep up with the demands of modern life,” says secretary of state for transport, Mr Grant Shapps.

“The Whole Industry Strategic Plan will help determine the future of the railway and we want it to be informed by as many different perspectives as possible, to learn from the lessons of the past and to meet the challenges of the future,” said Mr Andrew Haines, leader of the GBRRT. “We hope a wide range of organisations and experts, both inside and outside the rail industry, will respond to our call for evidence to help us all make the most of this opportunity to create a railway that truly delivers for all that use, service and depend on it.”

“A plan that provides long-term certainty for businesses in rail will be vital in the coming years, to ensure the sector can deliver efficiently and effectively,” said Railway Industry Association (RIA) chief executive, Mr Darren Caplan.

“The Whole Industry Strategic Plan is a generational opportunity to develop a long-term vision for rail to be the backbone of a truly integrated, low carbon transport system that delivers more for the whole country,” says Mr Andy Bagnall, Rail Delivery Group director general.

The call for evidence is open here.