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Williams Signals Franchising Is Broken But Must Go Further - Cortes

26 February 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has welcomed comments from Keith Williams, chair of the Government backed Rail Review in which he says 'franchising cannot continue the way it is today'.

Williams, in the annual George Bradshaw address to rail industry leaders, will also say franchising is ‘no longer delivering clear benefits for either taxpayers and farepayer’ and ‘for the railway to be successful it needs to put passengers at its heart’.

In response Manuel Cortes said: “Keith Williams clearly gets the fact that rail franchising is not working. In reality, it’s a dead duck and should be binned now before Failing Chris Grayling and this awful Conservative Government do yet more damage to these vital services

“Mr Williams says he is listening and it seems he’s moving in the right direction. But if he really wants to put passengers first, put them at the heart of the railways, he has no option but to recommend bringing our railways back into public hands.

“I trust this is an option which is under active consideration as a priority. It certainly should be because, as Williams rightly points out, ‘there is real hunger for change within the industry as well as outside’.

The Rail Review was established to recommend the most appropriate organisational and commercial frameworks to support the delivery of the government’s vision for the railway.

Former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams leads the major review of the rail industry, supported by an expert challenge panel.

The Government will publish a White Paper on the review’s recommendations, with the implementation of reforms planned to start from 2020.

The annual Bradshaw Address is named in honour of George Bradshaw (1800-1853), who developed the Bradshaw’s Guide to the railways.

The review’s first evidence paper, The role of the railway in Great Britain, will be published at 7pm today (26 February).

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