Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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

Morning, Thursday, 13th June 2019

Central London


Taking place at a midpoint in the ‘root and branch’ Williams Rail Review, this conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss priorities for improving rail services, the future of the rail franchising model and priorities for rail infrastructure investment.

With the Review tasked with considering options for the Government’s franchising strategy - and the Opposition leading calls to renationalise rail services - this session will provide an opportunity to assess whether the franchising model is fit for purpose and whether reform is needed.

What more should done to ‘bring track and train closer together’ and strengthen coordination across network rail and route operators will also be discussed.

With the Review also expected to look into whether fundamental changes regarding accountability are required - following in part from the ORR review into the May 2018 rail timetable failure - attendees at this conference will assess the way forward for tackling the challenges of delivering reliable services, value for money for passengers, reducing disruption and boosting performance.

Attendees will also discuss priorities for future rail infrastructure with Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan setting out its plans for CP6 (Control Period 6) investment aimed at running a ‘safe, reliable, efficient and growing railway’.

They will also assess the relationship between national and regional governance and the impact of regional transport bodies - such as Transport for the North and Midlands Connect - with delegates expected to discuss whether more should be done to improve coordination across the rail system, the role of regional bodies in driving infrastructure delivery and how best to link up national rail projects with regional transport links to improve passenger experience.

Further sessions discuss the future of fare reform and challenges of delivering improved digitisation.

It comes with the Rail Delivery Group’s calls for wide-ranging fare reforms in its submission to the Williams review, and the Government’s plans for increased digital signalling and the proposed introduction of 5G onto rail services nationwide.

Keynote Speaker

Tony Poulter

Non-Executive Board Member, Department for Transport and Member, Williams Rail Review Expert Challenge Panel

Keynote Speakers

Tim Wood

Director, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transport for the North

Peter Wilkinson

Managing Director, Passenger Services, Department for Transport

Tony Poulter

Non-Executive Board Member, Department for Transport and Member, Williams Rail Review Expert Challenge Panel


Ronnie Cowan MP

SNP Spokesperson, Infrastructure and Member, House of Commons Transport Committee

Ruth Cadbury MP

Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow Expansion


Sharon Lee

Associate Director, Programme and Project Management, Arup

Senior speaker confirmed from Virgin Trains

Neil Connor

Client Executive, Transport Operators, Fujitsu UK

Declan Collier

Chair, Office of Rail and Road

Maggie Simpson

Director General, Rail Freight Group

David Sidebottom

Director, Transport Focus

Paul Hirst

Partner, Head of Transport, Addleshaw Goddard