Railways

All Commons Briefing Papers
88 Documents
DateDescription
04.05.2016Rail regulation
This paper explains how the railways have been regulated since privatisation, including the present role and responsibilities of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), and proposals for the future reform of rail regulation.
14.04.2016Access to transport for disabled people
This paper explains the legislative frameworks that apply to public transport passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility.
31.03.2016High Speed 2 (HS2) Phases 2a, 2b and beyond
This paper deals with Phase 2 of the HS2 scheme and ideas that have been mooted for other HSR schemes such as HS3 across the Pennines and potentially to Scotland.
31.03.2016High Speed 2 (HS2) Phase 1
This note provides information on Phase 1 of HS2 from London to Bimringham, including the scheme design, Parliamentary scrutiny and compensation arrangements.
18.03.2016Budget 2016: a summary
A summary of Budget 2016 and the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasts for the economy and public finances.
16.03.2016Network Rail
This note describes what Network Rail is, how it works, how it is funded, what it does and how it is regulated. It also sets out various proposals to reform Network Rail, including those put forward by the Hendy and Bowe reviews in 2015 and the Shaw Report, published alongside Budget 2016.
14.03.2016Passenger rail services
This note explains how passenger rail services are provided in Great Britain, the policies of successive governments towards rail franchising and looks at those proposals which have been put forward for further reform - specifically more competition, public ownership and devolution.
03.03.2016Rail fares and ticketing
This paper explains the rail fares framework, including who sets fares, what constitutes a 'regulated' fare, how regulated fare levels are calculated and it also looks at the question of why fares go up. It also explores changes to ticketing - including smart and flexible ticketing, travel cards and penalty fares.
12.02.2016EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas
This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change if the UK left the EU: would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
18.01.2016Public Transport Fares
This paper looks at trends in rail and bus fares over the past 20 years.
10.12.2015Passenger transport: Social indicators page
Transport by cars, vans and taxis constituted 83% of the total distance travelled by passengers in 2013.
03.12.2015Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill: progress
This Commons Library briefing provides details of the progress of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill through Parliament, including a note on some amendments tabled at Report stage.
16.11.2015Social Indicators 2015
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
12.11.2015National rail usage and performance: Social Indicators page
The number of passenger journeys on franchised national railway services is at record levels.
03.11.2015Transport in Wales
This note gives an overview of those transport areas that are reserved to the UK Parliament; those which are devolved to Wales and proposals in the Draft Wales Bill to devolve further powers.
18.08.2015Railway passenger franchises
This is one of two briefing papers on rail passenger franchising. This note sets out the terms of the various rail franchises in England, Wales and Scotland. A second paper, SN6521, sets out in more detail how franchising works and the franchising policy of successive governments.
02.07.2015Rail electrification
This briefing paper explains the rail electrification schemes planned by the Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments and where things currently stand with each one.
02.06.2015Transport: passenger rights, compensation and complaints
This briefing paper provides information on passenger rights, compensation and how to make a complaint across four forms of transport: rail, bus and coach, air and sea (ferries and cruise ships).
01.06.2015Transport in Scotland
This note gives an overview of those transport areas that are reserved to the UK Parliament; those which are devolved to Scotland and proposals in the Smith Commission and the subsequent Scotland Bill to devolve further powers.
19.05.2015Key Issues for the 2015 Parliament
This book examines the key issues facing the House of Commons over the course of the 2015 Parliament - from the public finances to the UK's membership of the EU and from school places for children to climate change.
14.05.2015Transport 2015
This paper provides an overview of the transport commitments given by the main political parties in the run up to the 2015 General Election; a broad summary of transport trends over the course of the 2010 Parliament; and looks at some of the possible transport 'hot spots' post-2015, specifically devolution; local bus services; cycling provision; rail franchising; and airport expansion.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics: Transport
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on transport.
02.07.2014Railways: Crossrail 1 and 2
This note provides information on both Crossrail 1 (under construction) and Crossrail 2 (in the early planning stages).
12.05.2014Deregulation Bill: Committee Stage Report
The Bill proposes a range of measures in line with the Government's aim to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses and public authorities.
22.04.2014High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill 2013-14
This paper has been prepared for the House of Commons Second Reading stage of the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill, scheduled for 28 April.
30.01.2014Deregulation Bill
The Bill proposes a range of measures in line with the Government's aim to reduce burdens on businesses and public authorities.
08.01.2014Railways: Government support and public expenditure
Since the mid 2000s annual Government support to the rail industry has been significantly larger than in the 1980s and 1990s. A peak was reached in 2006/07. Support in 2012/13 is around 30% lower than this peak.
22.11.2013High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013
In the 2013 Queen's Speech the Government announced a 'paving bill' to authorise further spending on preparation for the HS2 project. This note covers the Parliamentary stages of the paving bill through to Royal Assent on 21 November 2013.
02.10.2013Railway performance and subsidy statistics
In Q1 2013/14, 93.0% of franchised trains arrived 'on time' in Great Britain according to the Public Performance Measure (PPM). In 2012/13 franchise fees received from active Train Operating Companies (TOCs) outweighed subsidies paid, to the tune of 536.8m. This Note provides data and commentary relating to the performance of, and subsidy to, Train Operating Companies.
23.09.2013Railways: fares statistics
Rail fares are greater now, in real terms, than they were near the end of the 20th Century.
18.06.2013Local transport governance and finance in England, 2010-
This note explains the structures and reform of local transport governance and finance in England following the 2010 General Election.
24.04.2013Railways: British Transport Police
This note looks at the structure and funding of the British Transport Police.
14.02.2013Railways: EU policy
This note gives an overview of the development of a common European railways policy towards the long-aspired to goal of a single European Railway Area.
05.12.2012Transport: winter maintenance
This note looks at the Quarmby recommendations to improve the resilience of all modes of transport to extreme weather, focusing particularly on the road network. It also explains the duty of highways authorities to ensure that safe passage along the highway is not endangered by snow or ice and looks briefly at issues of salt and grit supplies.
08.11.2012London Olympics 2012: transport
This note gives an overview of the transport planning for the Games and summarises the performance of the London transport network during the Games period.
31.07.2012Quick guide to the railways
This note gives a brief outline of the UK rail industry, including the bodies responsible for delivering services, how new schemes are chosen and financed.
02.05.2012Cycling: bike and rail
This note looks at the rules regarding the carriage of bicycles on the railway network, and the policies of successive governments to encourage and integrate bike and rail journeys.
20.03.2012Railway: accidents
This note outlines the statutory framework for investigating accidents on the railway and provides information on five of the most serious accidents in the past fifteen years.
08.03.2012Railways: freight
This note describes the rail freight policies of successive UK Governments and of the European Union. It also gives an overview of the grants available to rail freight operators and the track access charges they have to pay.
21.02.2012Railways: safety
This note looks at the statutory framework for rail safety that was introduced under the Railways Act 2005 and the regime which it replaced. It also provides information on EU rail safety policy, interoperability and the ERTMS train protection system.
17.02.2012Railways: stations
This note gives information on who owns the country's rail stations and is responsible for their maintenance; station accessibility and safety.
07.02.2012Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T)
Trans-European Networks (TENs) are infrastructure networks in transport, energy and telecommunications. This note is only concerned with the transport networks (TEN-T). It gives information on the background to the scheme, its financial aspects; the priority projects it supports; and the European Commission's plans for reform.
02.02.2012Railways: rural and community lines
This note looks at the development of community rail under successive governments. It explains the purposes of rural rail, how it is structured, and proposals for its development.
26.01.2012Railways: Thameslink infrastructure project
This note describes the Thameslink infrastructure project, including information on how the scheme got off the ground, construction issues and the policy of successive government towards the project. It does not deal with the controversial Thameslink rolling project to purchase new trains to run on the route. This is covered in HC Library note SN3146. The re-let of the Thameslink passenger franchise is covered in SN1343.
26.01.2012Railways: level crossings
This note sets out the responsibilities of relevant bodies for the safety management of level crossings. It also gives information on government policy and regulation and some of the more notable accidents that have occurred on level crossings in recent years.
25.01.2012Railways: light rail schemes
This note looks at the policies of successive governments towards light rail and provides information about reports that have been published about the same over the past eight years.
18.01.2012London Underground after the PPP, 2007-
This note looks at the management of London Underground since 2007, covering the collapse of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the transfer of control of the Underground to Transport for London (TfL).
13.01.2012Railways: rolling stock
This note provides information about the various rolling stock companies that supply train carriages to the UK railways and explains the procurement policies and programmes of successive governments.
17.11.2011High Speed Two (HS2): the debate
HS2 is a 32 billion project to build a high speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds, via Birmingham to begin operation in 2026 and be completed in 2032.
24.03.2011Railways: Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1)
This note provides information on the financial arrangements for HS1 including the recent sale of London & Continental Railways.
02.03.2011Transport policy in 2011: a new direction?
This paper outlines the changes made to transport policy by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government and looks at some of the long term transport challenges the government is likely to face over the course of this Parliament.
28.10.2010Local transport governance and finance in England, 1997-2010
This standard note explains the structures and reform of local transport governance and finance in England during the course of the 1997-2010 Labour Government.
10.08.2010Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), 2005-2010
This note outlines what the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) was, from its inception in 2005 to its demise in 2010.
10.08.2010Railways: Railtrack administration and the private shareholders, 2001-2005
This Note provides information about Railtrack and the Railway Administration Order Rules 2001. The last sections explain the position of the shareholders and the court case some of the private shareholders brought against the Government in July 2005.
04.05.2010Railways: Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
This note outlines the development of the Docklands Light Rail (DLR) system in East London and summarises the recent and planned expansion of the system.
14.04.2010Transport and Works Act 1992
This Note explains why the TWA was introduced and how it works.
13.04.2010Railways: Central Railway
This note gives information on the proposed freight railway linking Liverpool and Glasgow with northern France, via the Channel Tunnel. The scheme has been stalled since 2006.
13.04.2010Railways: Royal Mail services, 2003-
This note explains the end of Royal Mail rail services in 2004 and the rapid resumption of services with a different freight company later the same year.
13.04.2010Railways: Cairngorm Funicular Railway
This Note briefly describes the problems surrounding the replacement of the Cairngorm chair lift with a funicular railway in 2001.
07.04.2010Railways: Greater Western franchise, 2006
This short note looks at the terms of the Greater Western franchise which was taken over by First Group on 1 April 2006.
01.04.2010Rail Safety Statistics
Rail Safety Statistics. By Ross Young. SN/SG/2043.
31.03.2010Railways: Strategic Rail Authority, 1998-2005
This Note describes the setting up of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), the background to it, its functions and powers as set out in the Transport Act 2000 and its abolition in 2005.
31.03.2010Railways: 2004 White Paper
This note summarises the White Paper The Future of Rail published on 15 July 2004.
31.03.2010Railways: 2007 White Paper
In July 2007 the Government published a Rail White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway, incorporating the first high level operating statement (HLOS). It also published the Rail Technical Strategy. This Note gives an overview of these two documents along with responses from industry and opposition parties.
24.03.2010Railways: Railtrack, 1994-2002
The Note gives a history of Railtrack from when it was set up in 1994 to 2002 when it emerged from administration.
19.03.2010Transport Policy in 2010: a rough guide
This paper gives an overview of transport policy in the UK in 2010. It examines a range of issues related to transport policy, including policy-makers, spending on and sources of funding for transport, the transport policy of the main political parties, and the challenges in formulating transport policy in 2010.
18.03.2010Railways: privatisation, 1987-1996
This note describes the structure of the rail industry following privatisation by the Railways Act 1993. It is intended to give a factual account and only briefly touches on the issues involved in reaching decisions about the form of privatisation chosen or its shortcomings.
17.03.2010Railways: Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996
This Note gives the background to the 1996 Act which legislated for the building of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link; details on the scheme post-1996 can be found iin SN/BT/267.
16.03.2010Railways: West Coast Main Line
This Note provides background to the WCML upgrade project completed in December 2008.
08.03.2010Transport: rural areas
This note explains the Government's approach to rural transport.
01.03.2010Eddington Transport Study
This note sets out the conclusions of the 2006 Eddington study into transport and the economy and subsequent responses to it.
26.02.2010London Underground PPP: background
This note looks at contemporary assessments of the investment needed to upgrade the London Underground, some of the proposals consequently put forward to bring this about and the Labour Government's final decision to fund future development with a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
25.06.2009Railways pension scheme (RPS)
This note looks at the development of the Railways Pension Scheme set up in 1994 following the privatisation of British Rail
21.04.2008Transport in London
Transport in London. House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/36
11.12.2007Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill: Committee Stage Report
The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill. (Bill 4 of 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/89.
06.12.2007Crossrail Bill: Committee Stage Report
Crossrail Bill 2004. Committee Stage report. (Bill 10 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/85.
13.11.2007Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill [Bill 4 of 2007-08]
Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill (Bill 4 of 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/75.
01.06.2005Crossrail Bill (Bill 1 2005-06)
Crossrail Bill (Bill 1 2005-06). House of Commons Research Paper 05/38
23.05.2005Transport (Wales) Bill (Bill 4 of 2005-06)
The Transport (Wales) Bill (Bill 4 of 2005-06). House of Commons Library Research Paper 05/36.
11.01.2005Transport (Wales) Bill (Bill 15 of 2004/05)
The Transport (Wales) Bill (Bill 15 of 2004/05). House of Commons Library Research Paper 05/04.
01.12.2004Railways Bill (Bill 6 of 2004/05)
The Railways Bill (Bill 6 of 2004/05). House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/86.
22.01.2003Railways and Transport Safety Bill (Bill 40 of 2002/03)
The Railways and Transport Safety Bill. (Bill 40 of 2002/03). House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/06.
10.04.2002Social indicators
Social indicators. (Includes articles on Railways across Europe, Private medical insurance and Sources of election statistics). House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/22.
01.03.2002Economic indicators
Economic indicators. (Includes article on London Underground-Public Private Partnership (PPP)). House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/13.
13.12.1999Transport Bill (Bill 8 1999/2000)
The Transport Bill: Part IV: railways (Bill 8 of 1999/2000). House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/105.
20.09.1999Railway Organisations
Railway Organisations. House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/80. (Updates RP 97/72)
15.07.1999Railways Bill (Bill 133 1998/99)
Railways Bill. (Bill 133 of 1998/99). House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/72.
10.12.1998Greater London Authority Bill: Transport Aspects (Bill 7 1998/99)
The Greater London Authority Bill: Transport Aspects (Bill 7 of 1998/99). House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/116.
All Select Committee Reports
14 Select Committee Reports
DateDescription
29.11.2011Tunnel vision? Completing the European rail market.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
22.06.2011Department for Transport: the InterCity East Coast Passenger Rail Franchise.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
03.05.2011Transport and the economy.
Government response. Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
26.04.2011Keeping the UK moving: the impact on transport of the winter weather in December 2010.
Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
15.02.2011Transport and the economy.
Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
27.10.2010Increasing passenger rail capacity.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
14.09.2010Update on the London Underground and the public-private partnership (PPP) agreements.
Government response. Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
17.03.2010Update on the London Underground and the public-private partnership (PPP) agreements.
Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
09.02.2010Priorities for investment in the railways.
Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
02.02.2010Transport in the south west.
South West Select Committee report [Commons]
14.10.2009Rail fares and franchises.
Government response. Department for Transport; Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
20.07.2009Rail fares and franchises.
Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
19.05.2009Recast of the first rail freight package.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
30.03.2009The Department for Transport: letting rail franchises 2005-2007.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]