The new alliances between Network Rail and train operators are set to benefit passengers by delivering operations more quickly and cheaply. Six alliance framework agreements have so far been made, or about to be made with Abellio, Greater Anglia, c2c, ScotRail, Northern and Southeastern.

A ‘deep’ alliance is also being developed for the Wessex Route and South West Trains, which could see the establishment of a single, integrated management team to look after train and track. This is currently being discussed with Government, the ORR, employees and other operators.

The alliances may look at how stations can be better managed to provide a better service to passengers, how engineering work can be better planned or how improvements to train punctuality can be delivered.

The common features of these alliances include Network Rail and the operator remaining separate entities, employees continuing to have the same employer, each company continuing to be accountable for its own areas of responsibility and protecting the interests of other passenger rail companies and freight operators.

David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Demand for our railway continues to grow and we need to work smarter with our rail industry partners if we are to continue with the improvements we have made to services over the last decade.”

Ian Bevan, managing director of Northern Rail, added: “We have worked closely with Network Rail since the start of our franchise in 2004 to deliver a better service for our passengers. Our partnership approach has been integral to the improvements we have achieved so far.

“We began discussing an alliance with Network Rail in early 2011 to establish a more formal context to make real progress with the industry’s strategic agenda, driving down costs while improving services for passengers.”

“The comprehensive restructuring of Network Rail which has devolved power to the Scottish level will allow more efficient and effective management through a closer working relationship between ScotRail and network infrastructure operator,” said managing director of ScotRail, Steve Montgomery.

Tim Shoveller, managing director of South West Trains, said: “Our joint proposals for a ‘deep alliance’ have the potential to deliver a better service for our passengers, ensure faster and more customer-focused decisions, give better value for money to taxpayers and create a more efficient railway for the long-term.”

Charles Horton, managing director of Southeastern, said: “This new alliance will serve to formalise our existing close relationship. It will help us continue to improve the railways performance for passengers and help drive efficiencies across Southeastern and Network Rail.”

Ruud Haket, managing director of the soon to operate Greater Anglia franchise, welcomed the news, and said: “Greater Anglia has committed to improving customer service and transparency in operational performance.”

Dean Finch, chief executive officer, National Express Group commented: “The new alliance will help us to build upon our industry leading performance and deliver further service improvements for our passengers in East London and South Essex.”

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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