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The focus in recent years on short-term cost management with very tight control by central government risks eroding future revenues by failing to grow ridership and deteriorating the future quality of service. Rail reform has the potential to reset responsibilities and provides a huge opportunity to shift the DfT’s role back to strategic oversight and holding to account, whilst integrating the oversight of core railway functions within a ‘single guiding mind’ for a better-run railway. 

Since the Williams Rail Review, RIA has pushed for reforms to support a more efficient and dynamic industry. We welcomed the tabling of the Draft Rail Reform Bill and support the creation of Great British Railways, whilst continuing to voice the views and concerns of suppliers. RIA has set out five tests to ensure that reforms get the best value from the supply chain:

  • No hiatus in current work – the majority of Network Rail spend is with the private sector, and there cannot be a pause in the work.
  • Transparency – be clear with rail suppliers, to allow them to deliver.
  • Partnership – be an open and accessible client, and partner with the private sector.
  • Productivity – ensure the rail industry is able to thrive, as financial sustainability will ensure rail delivers for UK Plc.
  • Ambition – leave a positive legacy, including in safety, decarbonisation, and the economy.

RIA has been calling on Government to end uncertainty by bringing forward legislative proposals, setting out a clear timeline to establish Great British Railways and immediately progressing other reforms that do not require legislation. 

Key Publications 

RIA Manifesto 2024

Posted on 06/06/2024

Submission to the GBR Legislation Consultation

Posted on 29/07/2022
This submission constitutes the response from the Railway Industry Association (RIA) to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) consultation on the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and legislative changes to implement rail reform.

Press Notices 

RIA response to Labour’s plans for UK rail

Posted on 25/04/2024
The Labour party has set out its plans for UK rail, ahead of the forthcoming General Election.

RIA responds to the publication of the draft Rail Reform Bill

Posted on 20/02/2024
The Railway Industry Association's comment on the announcement of pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Rail Reform Bill

RIA welcomes Draft Rail Reform Bill

Posted on 07/11/2023
The Government has today included a Draft Rail Reform Bill in the King’s Speech which sets out some of the key pillars of industry reform including the creation of Great British Railways. A Parliamentary committee will oversee pre-legislative scrutin

Get in touch 

For more insight on Rail reform, please contact the Policy Team at [email protected]

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