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Economy Economy

Increase rail services on main lines and commuter routes

Last updated: 04:12pm 6 September 2019

We will increase services on our main lines and commuter routes…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.24

Our verdict

This is a promise to increase services on the main rail lines and commuter routes. Passenger journeys were recorded at 1.73 billion at the end of 2016, and satisfaction levels reached a ten-year low in early 2019. The promise to increase services is an attempt to address both the rise in rail users and declining satisfaction levels.

To date, there has been no announcement directly stating plans to increase services. However, in September 2018 the government announced “a sweeping review to transform Britain’s railways”, known as the Williams Rail Review. The Transport Secretary said the review would conclude with a white paper, or policy document, in late 2019. The white paper has not yet appeared. The most recent update on the review laid out a vision for change but gave no specifics.

In December 2018, the Rail Sector Deal was launched highlighting the government’s commitment to reforming the rail industry, focusing on digital innovation. Notably, the report does not directly state any plan to increase rail services.

In March 2019 the government launched the Future of mobility: urban strategy. However, this strategy does not state a concrete plan to increase rail services, instead echoing the intentions outlined in the Rail Sector Deal.

Although the rail industry has received attention from the government, there has been no plan announced to increase services on main lines or commuter routes. We’ll keep tracking to see if things change when the planned white paper is published, but for now this is ‘not started’. Follow this policy to stay informed.

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