Network Rail has been split up into separate geographic business units with their own route managing directors from today, to allow devolved investment decisions to be made concerning tracks and stations.

This move aims to align these decisions more closely to local passenger needs.

In Wales, the network will now be run under an all-Wales strategy, managed by a new singular business unit. Each route managing director will be fully accountable for the route businesses under their control including all maintenance, operations, customer services and local asset management.

Regeneration work in Cardiff and the Valleys over the next five years could also help ease congestion.

Route teams will have the power to target investment more efficiently and where it is most needed, with priorities determined in collaboration with train operators as well as third parties such as local authorities.

The move is in line with recommendations in the McNulty report, commissioned by the Government, to decentralise the network in order to boost efficiency. Network Rail had already begun the process before the formal launch of the McNulty report in the spring.

David Higgins, Network Rail’s chief executive. said: “Network Rail is committed to building not just a bigger and better railway but a better value railway too. Devolution marks a significant change, both in terms of the way we organise ourselves as a company and the service we offer our customers.

“Empowering route teams means quicker and more responsive decision-making and will help us meet our central goal of putting the customer first.”

Tim O’Toole, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Network Rail’s move to push decision making to a local level and work more collaboratively with train operators is a crucial step in delivering a better value railway for farepayers and taxpayers alike.

“However, further industry reform particularly to provide greater flexibility and closer aligned incentives between Network Rail and train operating companies will be required to deliver a more efficient and responsive railway that meets the needs of passengers.”

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Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment