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Keith Williams has been tasked by the Government with leading a root and branch review into the rail industry, and he has confirmed that he will recommend scrapping the current franchising system. Full details will be set out in the White Paper which, all being well, will be published before summer.
I thank the Minister for his comments. Passengers in my constituency and across northern England welcomed the decision to bring Northern Rail into public ownership on
First, may I push back on the hon. Lady’s point about safety, which is completely incorrect? That issue is regulated by an independent body, and she is wrong. Since privatisation, we have seen the number of passenger journeys more than double, as well as more services and better trains. Northern Rail’s fleet is now being replaced with new trains, and that will be finished by the end of May. I very much hope that the new system will include a profuse and large group of private companies that want to run services for us.
I cannot answer my hon. Friend from the Dispatch Box today, but we are working to deliver the service that he has outlined, certainly at the beginning and end of each day to start with.