British rail industry trade body Rail Delivery Group has called for the establishment of an organisation to regulate railway operations.
Addressing the Accelerate Rail conference in London, Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer advocated that the new body will help to increase accountability and facilitate a collaborative approach to decisions about the railway.
Furthermore, it will enable infrastructure manager Network Rail and other train companies to focus on innovation and improve railway services.
Plummer said: “Our vision for a new arms-length body for the railway in England and Wales must be different to what has gone before.
“Unlike previous attempts, it should have real autonomy and real powers. It should have the best people and leadership. If done right, it would swiftly become a trusted and respected player in the field.”
The new body will be entrusted with the task of devising proper strategies, objectives and targets to deliver a better railway service. It will also ensure that the whole network functions as a single unit with aligned decisions and targets.
According to Rail Delivery Group, the formation of an organisation will help politicians shift their focus from day-to-day activities to broader planning, as well as help railways contribute to communities and the country.
In his speech, Plummer said that often the ‘lines of accountability are blurred’ with ‘too many bodies’. He added that some of the bodies have conflicting remits and competing agendas, which dilute the scope of their individual responsibilities.
Plummer stated: “So that’s why we are calling for a new arms-length organising body to implement national rail policy, and prevent the railway being used as a political football.”