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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to bring track and train operations closer together.
He has set out his vision for England’s railways to deliver better, more reliable services to passengers and improved coordination across track renewal and train operations.
Plans include the creation of East West Rail, the first new integrated rail operation in decades that is separate to Network Rail, and the closer alignment of incentives between the management of infrastructure and the operation of train services.
The Transport Secretary said: “It would be no exaggeration to say that the railways of this country are crucial to its economic future. Without them our economy would grind to a halt.
Our railways need to adapt and change in order to be able to cope with the growth that they have already experienced, and that which lies ahead. We need a railway which is sustainable in all senses of the word.
East West Rail will provide a commuter route for the crucial centres on its route and will provide the transport spine for additional housing and business development in a corridor which is one of the government’s priority areas for the future of our country.”
Plans for better operation of track and train across the rail network will be achieved through new rail franchises. The first of the new franchises to be let will be on the South Eastern and East Midlands lines, which will be expected to include integrated operating teams between train services and infrastructure. The franchises are due to be awarded in 2018.