The government is drawing up some plans for a sweeping review of the rail franchising system of the United Kingdom. It comes as Downing Street is looking for a way to solve the transport woes of the country without abandoning the use of private operators.
Some sources confirmed that Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, is strongly mulling a review into the train networks of the United Kingdom, which is likely to be the largest of its kind since the privatisation of British Rail over two decades ago. It comes after the collapse of the East Coast franchise last May.
East Coast line was run jointly by Stagecoach and Virgin Group. The failures of the franchise have prompted the demands for the railways of the country to be taken back into hands of the public.
However, rumours that were first reported in the Financial Times earlier today said that Downing Street has now commissioned a review – likely to be headed by an external figurehead- which would look into ways on how to improve the railways while avoiding the calls of the Labour party for full-scale nationalisation. The consultation is anticipated to last until well into next year.
On Tuesday morning, the plan was presented in a meeting at Number 10 which was hosted by May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell. It was attended by ministers from several departments. A person who is familiar with the situation said that the plan was being driven by the UK transport secretary, Chris Grayling, with the authorisation of Downing Street.
A spokesperson for the DFT stated: “Privatisation has helped transform our railway – doubling passenger numbers and delivering more services, extra investment and new trains.”
He added: “We are absolutely committed to improving journeys and are always examining ways to improve how the railway serves passengers.”