Top industry figures quizzed over GBR progress

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee is questioning three senior industry figures this morning over the progress which is being made to set up Great British Railways. The MPs on the committee will be seeking updates from Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines, rail minister Wendy Morton and civil servant Conrad Bailey, who is the director general of rail strategy and services at the Department for Transport.

Andrew Haines has been leading the GBR Transition Team since it was formed in the wake of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, which was published as a White Paper last May. It envisages Passenger Service Contracts to replace the former franchises, which were abolished in September 2020. The franchises had already been effectively replaced by temporary Emergency Measures Agreements in March as Covid lockdowns started to reduce railway revenues.

The intention of the Williams-Shapps plan is to create a new ‘guiding mind’ for railways in Britain, which will take over the functions of Network Rail and award and manage Passenger Services Contracts. It will also unify the railways by giving them a single identity, based on the familiar double arrows logo which was introduced by British Rail in 1965.

The Committee session starts at 09.30 this morning.

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