The collapse of the East Coast franchise in May of this year has resulted in the government seeking a review of the UK’s rail franchising system. This will be the biggest review that has taken place for twenty years, with the aim of preventing any further potential collapses.
According to a number of reports, Theresa May is backing the reviews and so, she has given her approval for them to go ahead. The reviews are likely to be undertaken by an independent examiner with the aim of seeking methods that can help to improve the railway standards without having to remove private operators from the equation.
The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling is believed the be the main driving force behind this review. The proposal that has been put forward have been discussed at length at Number 10, in a meeting that was chaired by the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.
The push for this review follows the need for Chris Grayling to put the struggling East Coast franchise back under the control of the government in June this year. These measures were taken as the operators who controlled the franchise, Stagecoach and Virgin, were experiencing significant losses as well as providing passengers with a service that was significantly under par.
However, despite the review being pushed by many, it still has to receive complete approval from the Treasury and at this moment in time, the Treasury is not looking as though it is completely supportive of the idea.
This news has become apparent following Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, leading calls where he wants railways to become owned by the public once again, believing that this will help to shift the focus onto improving standards instead of having one eye on the profits.