Railway network shake-up with revolutionise train travel, pledges Boris Johnson

Great Western Railway announces disruption to service

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After years of criticism, with claims of under investment and confusing ticketing schemes, the creation of a new public body – Great British Railways – promises to deliver a system fit for the 21st century. In a back-to-the future move, it will even have an updated version of British Rail’s iconic double arrow logo.

It will integrate the nation’s railways, with the new body owning and managing infrastructure, issuing contracts to private firms to run trains, set fares and timetables, and sell the tickets.

The Prime Minister said: “I’m a great believer in rail, but for too long passengers have not had the ­service they deserve. By creating Great British Railways and investing in the future of the network, this ­Government will deliver a ­system the country can be proud of.”

The rollout of smart-tech tickets will be key to bringing regions in line with London.

GBR will absorb Network Rail in a bid to end the current “blame-game system” between train and track operations when ­disruption occurs.

It comes from the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail White Paper – named after former BA chief Keith Williams, who launched a review after the chaotic ­introduction of new timetables in 2018.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Great British Railways marks a new era.

“It will become a single familiar brand with a bold new vision for passengers.”

Despite the shift towards state control, the Government insists there will still be a ­substantial role for the private sector, which will ­continue to operate most trains. The model is similar to that used by Transport for London on the ­capital’s Overground and Docklands Light Railway services.

New Passenger Service Contracts will include incentives for operators to run high-quality services and increase passenger numbers.

While GBR is not expected to be established until 2023, some reforms will come in before then. These include ­flexible season tickets that offer savings on certain routes for ­people who travel to work just two or three times a week.

These will go on sale on June 21 for use seven days later.

Mr Shapps said railways were built to “forge stronger connections” and “an affordable, reliable and rapid service”, but passengers had been failed by “years of fragmentation, confusion and over-complication”.

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