BRITAIN’s Railway Industry Association (RIA) has set out five “tests” it says will ensure that the establishment of Great British Railways (GBR) will be a success.

Under the new structure, announced by secretary of state for transport Mr Grant Shapps in May 2021, GBR will integrate the country’s railways by owning the infrastructure, collecting fares revenue, running and planning the network, and setting most fares and timetables. The existing franchising operating model will also be replaced when the reforms enter force during 2024.

RIA says that the five tests provide a clear criteria for the new railway body to ensure it is able to harness the value and expertise of the rail supply industry. The tests are:

  • no hiatus in current work - more than 70% of British infrastructure manager Network Rail’s (NR) spend is with the private sector and RIA says there cannot be a pause in this work
  • transparency - RIA is calling for GBR to be clear and transparent with rail suppliers
  • partnership - RIA wants GBR to be an open and accessible client and to partner with the private sector
  • productivity - RIA wants GBR to ensure the rail industry is able to thrive and says financial sustainability will ensure rail delivers for Britain, and
  • ambition - RIA wants GBR to leave a positive legacy including safety, decarbonisation, exports and the economy.

RIA chief executive Mr Darren Caplan says the five tests were informed and developed by RIA members.