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Shapps gives green light to National Rail concessions

TRANSPORT SECRETARY Grant Shapps has given the clearest indication yet that the old style train operating franchises will not be revived after the pandemic.

Instead, he told the Commons Transport Committee that concessions will be the way foward, with the DfT or another contract-awarding body collecting the revenue and taking responsibility for investment.

He said the Williams Review would have been published by now had it not been for the pandemic, and that ‘without revealing too much we are already moving to a different type of railway and different types of contracts. With everything that is going on at the minute there is an opportunity to move things along faster than might have otherwise been the case.’

Mr Shapps also confirmed that the new ‘guiding mind’ mentioned by Keith Williams in speeches more than once is also part of the reconstructed industry.

He explained: “The Williams Review will envisage us a railway that is brought back together a lot more, which has a central guiding mind, that you end up not in a situation that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.’

The present Emergency Measures Agreements which replaced the franchises with management contracts on 23 March are due to end in September.

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