This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Introducing the UK Rail Opportunities Day, 22 May 2013.
Hello and welcome to this UK Rail Opportunities day. Although I am sorry not to have been able to be there today (22 May 2013), I am pleased to contribute with this video message.
Back in March I announced my plans for the future of rail franchising in Britain. I set out 3 principles for rail franchising: that passengers gain. that the rail industry thrives. And that the taxpayer gains through a more efficient use of public money.
Many of you will no doubt have seen the schedule published then, showing when we would let every franchise over the next 8 years as well as the ‘Prior information notice’ that explained what the opportunities are, when they are coming up and how we intend to let them.
The franchising approach has served the UK well. It has delivered new trains, new high speed services; better passenger service and engagement and better station facilities.
Since privatisation traffic on our rail network has doubled. It delivers thousands more services than in the mid 1990s. And we expect growth in passenger demand to continue.
But it is vital that we do not rest on our laurels; we need to keep challenging ourselves to improve as an industry and to raise the bar on what is delivered for passengers and taxpayers.
There is now the opportunity to build on the foundations put in place by the current bidding community. With partners that can continue to bring forward ideas that will fulfil the potential of the growing UK rail industry.
For today’s (22 May 2013) event we have drawn together a team of experts who will discuss the opportunities and give you their insights and experiences of operating within the UK rail industry. Hopefully, their presentations will give you the confidence, encouragement and inspiration to leave here today with the appetite to become a partner in the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
So thank you for coming and being part of the day and thank you for watching.