Palace of Westminster clock tower

UK: The government has made little progress in implementing its plans for rail which are now largely on hold until the next parliament, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee says in its report into rail reform which was published on May 27.

In particular, PAC notes that the Department for Transport has not yet established Great British Railways, which it originally planned to have set up by March 2024.

The PAC recommends that:

  • 1 DfT should set out, as soon as possible during the next parliament, how and by when it will successfully deliver the reforms;
  • 2a DfT should make clear what passengers should expect following rail reform, including clear targets that operators are expected to achieve;
  • 2b DfT should work with HM Treasury to resolve the disincentives in the system so that it can bring the level of subsidy on passenger services to a sustainable level and improve value for money for taxpayers;
  • 3 DfT should fulfil its commitment to improve accessibility, and does not need to wait for further consultation or legislation;
  • 4 DfT needs to make tangible, visible progress in implementing reforms which improve outcomes for passengers and taxpayers;
  • 5 DfT should urgently resolve disagreements ahead of taking forward reform in the next parliament;
  • 6 DfT should meaningfully engage with the workforce in order to implement reforms successfully.

Commenting on the report, Railway Industry Association Policy Director Robert Cook said ’the next government needs to accelerate rail reform and to drive growth and deliver a better railway’.

DfT was unable to comment because of pre-election period rules.