Britain’s Railways - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:20 pm on 24th May 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 6:20 pm, 24th May 2021

I cannot agree with the noble Lord that franchising has been an expensive failure. We have seen an enormous growth in passenger numbers as a result of the involvement of the private sector, and I think that has given us a really firm foundation from which to go better. However, rail freight is a topic that we can probably agree a little more on. I believe that it will benefit from this national co-ordination, as I said earlier, and we will consult closely with the freight industry to find out what challenges it has and how we can help it by making changes. We will introduce a new rules-based track access regime, which will have a statutory underpinning. That will be relevant for both freight and open access operators. We believe that that will yield more goods going by rail freight, and we will engage with the industry to make sure that this is the case.