The Department for Transport (DfT) is moving train operators to new contracts. These replace emergency arrangements to deal with the impact of coronavirus from 2020.
The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, published in May 2021, sets out a fresh vision for rail. Passenger Service Contracts (PSCs) will provide the framework for rail operations. These will be expected to put passenger interests at the heart of planning and delivery. PSCs will operate under a new organisation called Great British Railways.
The first competition for a PSC is likely to begin in 2022. The contract is expected to start in 2024. Other competitions will be announced at regular intervals.
Meanwhile, National Rail Contracts (NRCs) have been negotiated with a number of current operators. Others will take effect over the course of 2022.
Three operators are in public ownership – East Coast (LNER), Northern and Southeastern. DfT OLR Holdings own these for the Department of Transport.
In Scotland, the Abellio ScotRail franchise will come to an end in March 2022. ScotRail services will then be provided within the public sector, by an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. The Caledonian Sleeper continues to be operated by Serco under emergency measures agreements following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since February 2021, Transport for Wales Rail has operated within the Transport for Wales group. This is a not-for-profit company owned by the Welsh Government.
TfL Rail and London Overground operate as concessions for Transport for London.
Transport Focus maintains a strong emphasis on pressing for passenger interests. We will continue working with all organisations to seek the best outcomes from the planning and delivery of services.