Written evidence submitted by Transport for the East Midlands and
East Midlands Councils (RRB0006)

 

Rail Reform Draft Legislation 2024 – Call for Evidence

 

Please accept this brief targeted input to the call for evidence into the draft bill for rail reform.

 

Introduction:

Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) is the joint committee which brings the ten Local Transport

Authorities in the region together under the auspices of East Midlands Councils (EMC). TfEM has signed a Collaboration Agreement with the Department for Transport (DfT) to provide local input into the management of rail services in the East Midlands[1].

 

The TfEM submission to the GBR-TT Whole Industry Strategic Plan was offered in February 2022, and the TfEM submission to the Consultation on Legislation to Implement Rail Transformation was offered in August 2022. Since then, TfEM have separately published evidence to support high speed services to the region[2] and electrification of the Midland Mainline[3]. Rather than providing a full description of our ambitions for improved rail provision in the East Midlands in this submission, we would instead note that TfEM will publish further evidence to support the need to improve regional rail later in 2024. Ultimately TfEMs interest in rail policy is about what rail can do for the economy and environment for the people, places and trades in the region.

 

Midlands Connect is the Sub-National Transport Body for the region and we recognise their own submission to this inquiry. Midlands Connect and TfEM have published a shared transport priorities document[4] which is currently being updated to reflect recent decisions regarding HS2.

 

TfEM are submitting evidence to this inquiry to reconfirm the priorities for the East Midlands from rail reform. In particular to support the decision for GBR to be headquartered in Derby City, and to reaffirm previous representations on the potential benefits from a future partnership between GBR and TfEM on a ‘whole region and whole railway’ basis. This would build on the success of the current DfT agreement for EMR services.

 

Our Understanding of the Draft Bill:

We understand the draft bill to mean…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

A summary of our previously stated priorities:

TfEM provided input to the previous consultation stages that have led to this draft Bill for rail reform. These can be summarised as:

 

  1. More trains on time - to meet customers needs.
  2. Integration of track and trainto be simpler to engage with, to offer an East Midlands single point of accountability, to have a regional lens for decisions, to offer a guiding mind to specify long term strategic needs.
  3. A mandate for a growing railway to grow patronage and to improve regional outcomes a better integrated understanding of the railways contribution to long term economic growth, mechanisms for ringfenced regional funding for enhancement on shared enhancement objectives, co-agreed year-one regional improvement key success measures.
  4. A meaningful voice for TfEM with GBR - a whole region and whole railway collaboration agreement that respects the different regional geographies and their local political governance.

 

These still appear relevant to the future environment proposed through this draft legislation.

 

Reflections on the Draft Bill:

 

TfEM would work both with this proposed model, or with a model that went further to seek more public ownership. The short termism of the horizons of the current TOC Annual Business Plans, and absence of any integrated focus on regional outcomes are two challenges for improving rail in this region. The proposals of the draft Bill could go towards improving these.

 

 

 

 

 

Final comments:

TfEM recognise that the future partnership with GBR will be the mechanism where our objectives will most practicably be furthered. With regard to the draft Bill, we encourage Government to observe the broad consensus of stakeholders and industry to progress reform as quickly as possible as at worst the promise of the creation of a future IRB represents an excuse for inaction now, kicking the can of regional rail improvement down the road to a future that may never come. We note that many improvement actions could be chosen by Government to be done now to improve rail outcomes for regions without new legislation, and we’d like to work closely to do this whilst this draft Bill is receiving scrutiny and assent.

 

 

March 2024

 

Endnotes

 


[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/greater-voice-for-rail-passengers-in-new-collaboration-between-government-and-east-midlands-transport-leaders

[2] https://eastmidlandscouncils.kinsta.cloud/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/TfEM_v1.pdf

[3] https://eastmidlandscouncils.kinsta.cloud/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/TheFuturesElectric.pdf

[4] https://www.emcouncils.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/TfEM-Shared-Vision-2024.pdf