Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

Next steps for the UK’s rail network

Morning, Thursday, 25th April 2024


This conference will focus on next steps for the UK’s rail network, looking at priorities for delivering a reliable network and future-proofing rail infrastructure.


It takes place with:

  • the publication of the Draft Rail Reform Bill in February 2024, which includes legislation to create Great British Railways, and for which the Transport Committee has begun pre-legislative scrutiny
  • the commencement of Network Rail’s Control Period 7 (CP7) in April 2024, with planned activities for operation, maintenance and expenditure set out to March 2029
  • the PM’s announcement in October 2023 that the northern leg of HS2 will be cancelled and replaced by spending on local transport projects under the Network North scheme
  • the NAO’s value for money report in March 2024, which concluded that the UK rail sector’s performance is not good enough and has not been for some time

It will bring stakeholders and policymakers together to examine Network Rail’s priorities for CP7, considering the objectives outlined in the delivery plan and how effectively they respond to longer-term government goals and the needs of passengers and other stakeholders, for both the rail and wider transport sector.


Delegates will consider the Office of Rail and Road’s final determination on the CP7 proposals, including implications of accountability measures and their role in ensuring targets are met.


It will also be an opportunity to assess how the establishment of an Integrated Rail Body in GBR will impact the Government’s aims of providing better accountability, more reliable services, greater efficiency and coordinated growth across both the passenger and freight sectors.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Will Godfrey, Director of Economics, Finance and Markets, ORR; Jonny Mood, Director of Transport Value for Money, NAO; and Paul McMahon, Director, Planning and Regulation, Network Rail.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • Network Rail’s CP7 delivery plan: key areas of focus in CP7 plans - enablers and strategies for implementing priorities - how far plans go in delivering against government objectives and whether they meet the needs of railway users
  • CP7 funding priorities: impact of increased spending on core infrastructure and environmental aims - priority areas of investment - addressing stakeholder concerns of overall funding adequacy and trade-offs in other areas
  • ORR’s PR23: building on recommendations made in the Final Determination - evaluating Network Rail’s targets over 2022-23 and CP6 as a whole
  • freight: examining the Government’s ambition to grow rail freight by at least 75% before 2050 - assessing how Network Rail’s initial targets for freight growth in CP7 fit within the long-term target and wider decarbonisation aims across the entire freight sector
  • Draft Rail Reform Bill:
    • next steps for establishing GBR - impact of the pre-legislative process - areas of reform that the Bill will allow to be implemented before powers are conferred to GBR
    • how to address stakeholder concerns over the timescale of implementation in response to a Reform Bill rather than a full Transport Act
    • evaluating how powers passed onto GBR will fit within current arrangements, both across England and devolved nations
  • value for money and performance: options for improving the rail sector ahead of new legislation - addressing underlying problems - understanding what is needed to deliver improvements - devising realistic delivery plans
  • delivering a reliable rail network: strategies for resolving industry disputes - addressing disruption from ongoing industrial action - improving train performance and efficiency - improving passenger satisfaction
  • ticketing: assessing the impact of ticket office closure reversals on passengers and running costs, as well as other potentially controversial policies - achieving value for money
  • sustainability: strategies for decarbonising and future-proofing the sector - examining RSSB’s Sustainable Rail Blueprint - opportunities for individual operating companies to build a more environmentally-friendly network - asset renewal - developing innovation and technology

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DfT; ORR; NIC; Defra; DfI, NI; DESNZ; Transport Scotland; House of Commons Library; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.



Keynote Speakers

Will Godfrey

Director of Economics, Finance and Markets, Office of Rail and Road

Paul McMahon

Director, Planning and Regulation, Network Rail

Jonny Mood

Director of Transport Value for Money, National Audit Office

Keynote Speakers

Jonny Mood

Director of Transport Value for Money, National Audit Office

Will Godfrey

Director of Economics, Finance and Markets, Office of Rail and Road

Paul McMahon

Director, Planning and Regulation, Network Rail

Chair

Lord Bradshaw

Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rail

Speakers

Tammy Samuel

Partner, Rail, Stephenson Harwood

Robert Cook

Policy Director, Railway Industry Association

Chris Page

Chair, Railfuture

Mick Whelan

General Secretary, Aslef

Professor Paul Plummer

Professor of Rail Strategy, University of Birmingham

Natasha Grice

Director, Transport Focus