No free rides for railways, says SRA

21 Jun 01
Tough decisions will have to be made and substantial sums of taxpayers' money will be needed if the UK is to have a 'bigger, better, safer railway', according to the Strategic Rail Authority.

22 June 2001

Mike Grant, managing director of the SRA, said there could be no 'free rides' if the government's ten-year plan for the railways is to be implemented.

Speaking at the conference on June 14, he said rail schemes would need to bring quantifiable benefits to the SRA on behalf of customers and taxpayers.

'The alternative for government might be 100 schools or a couple of teaching hospitals,' he said. 'External benefits have to be real benefits, not notional aspirations.'

The government plan includes a 50% increase in passenger miles over the next ten years; a more reliable service; and better accessibility to the network. It will also include the introduction of advanced train protection systems.

'We are more than ready to provide the strategic direction and leadership for which the industry is asking,' Grant added. 'But it will take five to ten years to try and recover 40 to 50 years of little or no investment.'


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