Book review

by Chris Bolt

Based on a lecture given earlier this year by the Chairman of the UK's Office of Rail Regulation, this second pamphlet in the On Track series from centre-right think tank Politeia discusses the question of who should 'stand up for those who travel by train'.

Bolt starts by explaining how ORR oversees 'the integrated safety and economic regulation for the railways', enforcing safety regulation and competition laws, licensing train operators and advising the Secretary of State for Transport. He then addresses a number of questions about the effect of regulation in practice.

With the industry facing rising expectations in terms of seven-day operations, improved efficiency, more investment and planning for additional capacity, Bolt concludes that 'rail regulation will play an increasingly central role' in meeting these challenges. As commentators continue to ask whether the UK rail industry structure is fit for purpose, Bolt says 'ORR's approach is to seek evolutionary change rather than promote major structural change'.

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