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Grayling privatises new rail link and halts handing TfL franchises

Lee Baker
07 December 2016

The transport secretary has shaken up rail policy with the creation of the a privatised integrated rail operation, halting handing TfL franchises and a demand that new franchises have integrated operating teams.

Chris Grayling said the East West Rail organisation to be established in the New Year to deliver the new Oxford to Cambridge link instead of Network Rail would "secure private sector involvement to design, build and operate the route" in a move transport unions pledged to fight. Elsewhere on the network, he would insist on integrated operated teams to bring together responsibility for train services and infrastructure, starting with South Eastern and East Midlands saying "our railways are much better run by one team of people". This model for greater alignment would "develop," he said, potentially including the option of joint ventures in the future.

To the anger of London politicians, including some Conservatives, TfL would not be handed responsibility for franchises as they are renewed as previously agreed, but instead TfL will be invited to "be more closely involved through seconding a TfL representative to the franchise specification team".

To read the transport secretary's plans click here

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