Final report by Nicola Shaw into the future of Network Rail.
In July 2015 Nicola Shaw, the Chief Executive of HS1, was asked to provide options for the future shape and financing of Network Rail in order to support growth and investment. Her report, published this week, confirms that the rail network should be held as a national asset and a key public service. It builds on good progress already being made by Network Rail and focusses on steps to improve performance for passengers and freight users. I welcome the report’s recommendations.
The Shaw report proposes strengthening the role of Network Rail route managers to increase accountability and efficiency. It also recommends a new northern route, and a new freight route to ensure the rail freight industry can continue to contribute to growth.
My recent consultation on the role of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) showed clear support for strong independent regulation to put customer needs at the heart of rail. To support the ORR, I will work with it to implement changes to bring greater clarity to its statutory duties and to enhance its working relationship with Transport Focus. I will also update the statutory guidance I provide.
The recent report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into competition in passenger rail services recommended open access operators could benefit passengers if important reforms are made. These reforms include fairer charges and robust protections for taxpayers and investment. While charges are for the ORR, I hope that changes to charges can be made as soon as possible. I will now explore options for potentially implementing the CMA’s recommendations, including legislation if required.
I will make a fuller response to the Shaw report later this year. I am placing a copy of the Shaw report in the Library of the House.