Grand Central train

UK: Arriva has called for an ‘open access summit’ to enable the rail industry to ’collectively work through the barriers and agree practical steps for unleashing more of these innovative services, including through making best use of unused capacity on the network’.

In the George Bradshaw Address on February 7, Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper said the government would ’support more open access services where it benefits passengers and taxpayers’.

‘We’ve seen this work well with Hull Trains and Grand Central as well as with Lumo’, Harper said, adding that ‘open access operators will play an important role in the industry’s future, especially as we grow new markets and make best use of spare capacity on the network’.

DfT insiders explained that this would require a review of track access charges to ensure a more equal pricing regime for all operators.

Commenting on Harper’s speech, Arriva’s UK Trains Managing Director David Brown said ‘it is particularly pleasing to see government commitment to supporting more open access services’, and called for a summit to bring together train operators, the government, Network Rail, the Great British Railways Transition Team and the Office of Rail & Road.

Brown said ’we know through our stewardship of Grand Central and by watching other open access operations, the innovation and customer-focused improvements that can be delivered through such services’.

Harper also mentioned plans for further trials of single-leg ticket pricing. Nick Clarke, Head of Commercial at Arriva’s Grand Central business, said ’we’re delighted that the industry is considering adopting the single-leg pricing approach which we have been using at Grand Central for over 15 years, in line with our commitment to providing straight-forward value to our customers. This is something we know our customers appreciate.’