New Inquiry

The Future of the Railway

The Strategic Rail Authority project that the cost of providing the national train service in 2002/03 will be £9 billion, up from £6 billion in 1999/00.  Yet last year one in five trains was late, and passenger complaints rose. 

On Wednesday, 25th June, Mr Tom Winsor, the Rail Regulator, told the Committee that the railways were “the Victorians' legacy to us … an extraordinarily precious network of narrow land corridors, city centre to city centre, going all over the country, and to turn them into roads would be just an unbelievable waste.  It is a system which the country needs, particularly in conurbations with commuter services into London and other large cities”  (Q 148).

In particular the Committee wishes to examine:

• Is the Regulator right, or is rail and outmoded form of transport?

• Is the present network the right one; if not, how should it be changed?

• What sort of traffic is the network best used for?

• How does our network compare with other railways, and what lessons can we learn from other countries

Witnesses are invited to submit memoranda to the Committee before Monday 8 September 2003.  It is unlikely that memoranda submitted after this date will be published. Witnesses who wish their memoranda to be treated in confidence should contact the Committee Clerk in advance.

Memoranda should be a maximum of 6 A4 pages in length with numbered paragraphs or pages. 

Witnesses are requested to submit a single hard copy of their memorandum by post to the above address, together with an electronic version (in ASCII or Word formats) either by e-mail to (with the title of the inquiry in the subject heading) or on a disk accompanying the hard copy.  Witnesses who are unable to submit electronic versions of their submissions are respectfully requested to take particular care that their submissions are legible. 

All submissions should be final and complete; the Committee will not accept draft memoranda or subsequent amendments.  Memoranda submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.

Press Notice   28/2002-03   14 July 2003

Eve Samson