2011/2012

Transport committee - inquiry into the reform of the railways

1. This is the response of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to the Transport Select Committee’s call for evidence on the reform of the railways.

2. The RDG welcomes the Government’s support for the RDG contained in the Command Paper ‘Reforming our Railways: Putting the Customer First’, which was published today. The Paper calls on the Rail Delivery Group to provide leadership to the industry and to respond to the Government’s strategic challenges. The Command Paper lays out the Government’s vision for an expanding and efficient railway that meets the needs of passengers, freight users and taxpayers. The Government sees the Rail Delivery Group leading the industry in driving up efficiency and demand for the railway. This is a challenge that the Group accepts.

3. The Command Paper calls on the Rail Delivery Group to lead the rail industry in working together to deliver a more efficient, more affordable railway. The Rail Delivery Group is pleased that the Government has recognised that the Group is taking and shaping the industry’s agenda for a sustained programme of improved management and running of the rail network.

4. The Command Paper lists the six priority areas being addressed by the Group

  • Asset, programme and supply chain management;
  • Contractual and regulatory reform;
  • Technology, innovation and working practices;
  • Train utilisation;
  • A whole-system approach; and
  • Industry planning

​5. The Rail Delivery Group was created to unlock efficiencies that will improve Britain’s railways. In its first nine months the Group has identified opportunities for a range of savings, for example in asset management through earlier involvement of the operators in planning work on the network. The RDG has also identified efficiencies in major project implementation by involving operators in the early specification

6. The Rail Delivery Group shares the Government’s desire for an affordable and efficient railway. In bringing the industry together the Rail Delivery Group will provide the leadership to capture efficiency opportunities and ensure that the railways have earned their licence to grow.

7. The Rail Delivery Group brings together the owners of Britain's Train Operating Companies, Freight Operating Companies and Network Rail to provide leadership to Britain's rail industry. The Group was set up in May 2011 in response to the call by the Rail Value for Money Study, chaired by Sir Roy McNulty, for the rail industry to demonstrate leadership

8. The Rail Delivery Group is focusing on the recommendations contained in the Rail Value for Money Study for reducing the costs and improving the efficiency of Britain's railways. It is concentrating on industry-wide issues in the context of the need for improved services to rail users and value for money for taxpayers.

9. The priorities being pursued by the Rail Delivery Group are

  • Improving the asset, programme and supply-chain management of the rail industry through closer co-operation between Network Rail, operators and suppliers;
  • Encouraging contractual and regulatory reform that increases flexibility and allows the industry to respond to the needs of users and taxpayers;
  • Embracing technology and innovation in the working environment to enhance the contribution made by one of the industry’s key assets, its workforce;
  • Identifying ways to improve the utilisation of the train fleet by reviewing demand management, service specification and operating practices;
  • Achieving a quicker implementation of major technical projects by removing blockages and resolving commercial issues through taking a whole system approach; and
  • Making a full contribution to rail industry planning by guiding the production of the industry’s Strategic Business Plan in response to the High Level Output Specification.

10. RDG members are representatives from the owning groups of the passenger and freight train operators and Network Rail. The Chairman is Tim O’Toole, Chief Executive of First Group, the vice Chairman is Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail and the Secretary is Graham Smith. A list of the Member companies and representatives is attached at Appendix A

11. The Terms of Reference of the Rail Delivery Group are published on its website and an extract is attached at Appendix B

Appendix A

RDG Members and their Director / Alternate representatives 

Abellio 

  • Dominic Booth

Arriva 

  • David Martin (Director)
  • Bob Holland (Alternate)

DB Schenker Rail 

  • Alain Thauvette (Director)
  • Nigel Jones (Alternate)

Directly Operated Railways 

  • Doug Sutherland

First Group 

  • Tim O’Toole (Director)
  • Vernon Barker (Alternate)

Freightliner 

  • Peter Maybury (Director)
  • Lindsay Durham (Alternate)

Govia 

  • David Brown (Director)
  • Charles Horton (Alternate)

 National Express 

  • Dean Finch (Director)
  • Andrew Chivers (Alternate)

Network Rail 

  • Sir David Higgins (Director)
  • Paul Plummer (Director)

Stagecoach 

  • Martin Griffiths (Director)
  • Sir Brian Souter (Alternate)

Virgin 

  • Tony Collins (Director)
  • Patrick McCall (Alternate)

Director-General 

  • Graham Smith 

Attending meetings of Rail Delivery Group Limited

  • ATOC - Michael Roberts 

Appendix B

Extract from the Terms of Reference (established in June 2011) of the Rail Delivery Group

RDG will focus on industry-wide issues in the context of the need for improved service to rail users and value for money to the taxpayer. RDG will not duplicate or over-ride the primary accountability for delivery in the UK rail industry (which remains with the passenger and freight train operators and Network Rail) or the need for much stronger collaboration between these companies at a local level.

RDG will co-ordinate the objectives for key cross-industry groups including National Task Force (NTF), Planning Oversight Group (POG) and Technical Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG).

A key initial priority for RDG will be to review and sponsor cross-industry work by POG in preparation for the Initial Industry Plan (IIP) which [was] published in September 2011 including the scope for improvements in Value for Money and overall industry costs.

RDG members will be representatives from the owning groups of the passenger and freight train operators and Network Rail.

RDG attendees will be nominated Chief Executives or Board Directors from each of these groups - alternates will not be accepted without prior agreement of the members. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) will attend the meetings but will not be a member of the Group

Support for RDG will be provided by the Members and by the cross industry groups which RDG steers. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), the Rail Freight Operators’ Association (RFOA) and the Railway Industry Association (RIA) would also provide support to the cross-industry groups and provide input to RDG as appropriate.

The Chairmanship and vice-Chairmanship of RDG will be from the group’s membership and would rotate on an annual basis. The initial Chairman of the Group will be Tim O’Toole and the initial vice-Chairman will be David Higgins. The role of the Chairman will be to chair meetings of the group, establish its agenda and represent the views of the group as appropriate. The role of the vice-Chairman will be to deputise for the Chairman when necessary and to represent the views of the group as appropriate.

A part time Secretary will be appointed potentially on secondment from one of the industry members. The initial Secretary will be Graham Smith. The role of the Secretary will be to coordinate support required by the group and transmit its views to cross-industry groups about their objectives and priorities, making use of resources from member organisations as appropriate.

Government and ORR will not be members of RDG but they will be invited to provide input to the group on key issues as appropriate and representatives from RDG will engage periodically with Ministers on key cross-industry issues or on progress with industry reform.

It is recognised that the suppliers to those with a primary accountability for delivery as well as trade unions have a critical role to play and RDG will consider further how their input can be formalised.

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