Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

The next steps for rail services in the UK - modernisation, accountability and meeting the needs of users

Morning, Thursday, 13th June 2019

Central London


This timely conference will discuss the future of the UK’s rail system, following the announcement of the ‘root and branch’ Williams Rail Review.

Taking place at a midpoint in the Review, the conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss its priorities including the outlook for the rail franchising model - with the Review tasked with considering options for the Government’s franchising strategy and ‘bringing track and train closer together to reduce disruption and improve accountability’.

Delegates will also discuss how best to deliver reliable services and value for money for passengers, as well as commercial sustainability and innovation.

The conference will also provide a timely opportunity to assess what more can be done to improve accountability in the sector following the recent ORR review into the May 2018 rail timetable failure, which identified gaps in accountability for managing systemic risks - as well as the launch of a new independent rail ombudsman service, and with the Williams Review expected to look into whether more fundamental changes are required.

Further sessions will assess the impact of increased devolution for the management of rail services to regional transport bodies such as Transport for the North and Midlands Connect, and will look at the priorities for regional governance and management of the transport network, and how national and regional bodies can best work together and with industry.

Delegates will also consider the challenges for modernising the rail sector - in the context of the Rail Sector Deal and the Digital Railway Strategy - and will discuss the impact of moves towards a more intelligent and accessible network - including the Government’s plans for increased digital signalling, integrated smart ticketing and the proposed introduction of 5G onto rail services nationwide.

Keynote Speakers

Tim Wood

Director, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transport for the North

Peter Wilkinson

Managing Director, Passenger Services, Department for Transport


Senior speaker confirmed from Virgin Trains

Maggie Simpson

Director General, Rail Freight Group

David Sidebottom

Director, Transport Focus

Paul Hirst

Partner, Head of Transport, Addleshaw Goddard