Coast News



Peninsula Rail Task Force submits formal response to the Williams Rail Review

The Peninsula Rail Task Force (PRTF) has welcomed the opportunity to submit a response to the Call for Evidence to the Williams Review announced in December 201

30th April, 2019
The Peninsula Rail Task Force (PRTF) has welcomed the opportunity to submit a response to the Call for Evidence to the Williams Review announced in December 2018.

In preparing its response, which was submitted today, members of the PRTF Board met with representatives of the review team to discuss the direction of emerging conclusions that have been reached from evidence papers published to date.

Chair of the PRTF, Cllr Andrea Davis said: “We are currently seeing some of the highest levels of investment in railways, and we must ensure value for money for the taxpayer. PRTF is pleased to see that the Williams Review also wants to see passengers at the forefront of much needed change.

”The PRTF’s 20 year plan, “Closing the Gap”, outlines current and future ambitions for the Peninsula railway, and we hope the results of the review will assist and not hinder the industry in delivering this.”

The PRTF reports that the rail industry is currently fragmented as a result of competing goals across the public and private sector.

This is impacting on delivering the ultimate aim of a reliable and resilient railway.

It adds that the existing operating model for the rail industry is not fit for purpose and the PRTF joins the call for the establishment of an industry wide strategic body to interpret government policy into an overall framework.

PRTF believes this will assist the industry in planning for a longer term rail strategy, which is currently difficult with conflicting timescales for Control Periods and franchise contracts.

Cllr Davis continued: “We need to ensure that the South West rail network does not fall behind the level of service in other parts of the country, so are concerned to see that trade-offs will be required. We do not want to see fast main line services at the cost of local branch lines; both are essential to the South West economy.

“The Williams Review needs to be ambitious and innovative. It is an opportunity to shape the future vision for railway and we look forward to the release of the white paper in the Autumn.”