GBRTT commission on simpler, better industry processes

Passenger looking at departure board

Regulatory and contractual rules are important and underpin a surprising number of the most basic railway functions. They control how the railway works together to carry passengers and goods safely and efficiently around the network.

In response to the Government's call to “modernise rail services and improve reliability for passengers”, the Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) published some recommendations in November 2023, advising an approach to simplify the huge framework of cross-industry processes and rules about how decisions are made between all the users of the railway.

We’ve now been tasked to take forward those activities that do not require legislation.

The aim is to put customers first while making work simpler across rail industry bodies, having in mind the future ways Great British Railways (GBR) can be more effective in managing the network fairly, transparently, and efficiently. With wide consultation and support across the industry, we recommended 30 activities to do that (see Update: 13 November 2023 below).

That means setting to one side any activities recommended within our report that are actively preparing for GBR, or activities to be undertaken by GBR once formed.

For 2024, our focus is on the near-term changes that simplify today’s approaches, as the start of setting a vision for the industry.

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Following the feedback received on our exploratory papers, we are pleased to be able to publish our recommendations for simplifying rail industry rules and processes. This report has also been sent to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Office of Rail and Road:

In the report, we identify opportunities to improve and simplify industry processes in order to achieve better outcomes, often independently of Great British Railways (GBR) being set up.

Taken together, these changes represent a departure from the current fragmented railway and present a huge opportunity to create a simpler, better railway. 

The recommendations we have published today are not final decisions. Rather, they form a coherent approach set of changes for Government and other key parties such as the Office of Rail and Road to consider.

Work can start now to design and deliver some of our recommendations – including simplifying how changes are made at stations, work on the systems involved in delay attribution and some near-term improvements that can allow earlier decisions when needed to deliver major timetable changes. Other recommendations also look ahead to GBR, and will be critical to unlocking the integrated benefits that the creation of a guiding mind can deliver for rail users.  

Update: 26 May 2023

GBRTT has previously produced initial discussion papers which were shared with industry partners for review and comment, with the intention of incorporating this feedback into an update to the Department for Transport later this year (see Update: 14 March 2023 below) . 

This paper is to update stakeholders on the Commission’s planned work in Phase 2 of our work. Phase 2 will include developing recommendations for future changes to access-related regulations – principally the Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2016 (“A&MR”). This paper is produced as part of that wider Commission:  

Update: 14 March 2023

As part of the Commission to deliver a simpler and more integrated railway, GBRTT is publishing a series of exploratory papers to open its thinking up to industry experts and stakeholders. The propositions and comments in these papers are work-in-progress at this stage and are not government policy.

These papers were published on the GBRTT website, so interested parties could provide feedback before the deadline of 30 April 2023. We have now closed that activity.

Correspondence: 29 July 2022