London Waterloo concourse

UK: The Great British Railways Transition Team has called for evidence to support the development of an ‘outward looking’ 30-year Whole Industry Strategic Plan which would to enable the government to set a clear long-term direction for the railway sector.

GBR will be responsible for achieving the outcomes in the WISP, providing regular updates on progress to ministers and adapting the plan to reflect changes in the economy, society and technology.

Stakeholders from the rail sector and beyond, including ‘business leaders, innovators, technologists, home builders, entrepreneurs and environmentalists’, are invited to provide their views on how rail can contribute to five strategic objectives set by government:

  • meeting customer needs;
  • delivering financial sustainability;
  • contributing to long-term economic growth;
  • levelling up & connectivity;
  • delivering environmental sustainability.

The call for evidence runs to February 4. Respondents are asked to provide verifiable data and qualitative information to support submissions, and the GBRTT said answers that identify opportunities for prioritisation, efficiency and cost reductions are particularly welcome.

‘The Whole Industry Strategic Plan will help determine the future of the railway and we want it to be informed by as many different perspectives as possible, to learn from the lessons of the past and to meet the challenges of the future’, said GBRTT leader Andrew Haines on December 9. ‘We hope a wide range of organisations and experts, both inside and outside the rail industry, will respond to our call for evidence, to help us all make the most out of this opportunity to create a railway that truly delivers for all that use, service and depend on it. Together, we will create a simpler, better railway for everyone in Britain.’

Andy Bagnall, Director General of the Rail Delivery Group, said WISP ’is a generational opportunity to develop a long-term vision for rail to be the backbone of a truly integrated, low carbon transport system that delivers more for customers and the whole country’.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said ‘a plan that provides long-term certainty for businesses in rail will be vital in the coming years, to ensure the sector can deliver efficiently and effectively.’

Transport Focus said passengers’ priorities are reliability, cleanliness, space to sit and stand comfortably, good quality information and value for money. ‘The starting gun has now been fired on a true long-term plan’, said Chief Executive Anthony Smith. ‘Transport Focus will help Great British Railways get passengers’ views at the heart of its thinking using our wide range of passenger insight.’