Get Rail Competition Back on Track

  • UK rail passengers are suffering from militant Trade Union action and poor performance by Network Rail.
  • 60% of delays on Southern are due to network problems. Delays are exacerbated by strike action and the doubling of staff sickness rates since earlier this year.
  • A deeper underlying problem is the near absence of “open access” on track competition, where two operators run services in competition over similar routes.
  • Where open access operates in the UK, passenger satisfaction is at its highest. But the DfT is concerned that more open access will reduce the franchise premium.
  • A new high speed open access application has been submitted on the overcrowded London to Southampton route. This could allow on track competition in Southern England for the first time, giving passengers more choice and lower fares.
  • Government should publicly support competition on UK rail and show its commitment by easing the path for those seeking to deliver competition against franchise holders.

Daniel Mahoney, Tony Lodge, Tim Knox - Wednesday, 21st December, 2016