The private-public model is still the best option for our railways | Letters
Longer franchises are key to reforming the railways, says Ian Jones; Paul Plummer of the Rail Delivery Group wants to evolve the role of the private sector; and John Bird says we must protect small businesses in railway arches
John Harris (The solution to our transport crisis? It’s got to be local, 11 June) still gives credence to the view that renationalisation of the entire railway system offers some answer to current problems in the sector. In fact, what is needed is a radical reform of the current passenger rail franchising model, and an end to the highly damaging separation of track and train operation.
This could be achieved through the creation of a set of vertically integrated franchises along each main line of route, with a single entity responsible for management and operation of both fixed and mobile assets. These “vertically integrated” franchises would be awarded for terms of 20 to 30 years, to encourage franchisees to take a longer-term view of their businesses, and the financial terms would be subject to periodic review and adjustment, to address the problems that have arisen with the east coast franchise. Properly designed franchises can be part of the solution to the UK’s rail problem.
Source: Guardian Transport