This is a promise to launch new rail services. At the end of 2016, passenger journey numbers were recorded at 1.73 billion, and in early 2019 satisfaction levels reached a ten-year low. The promise of new services for poorly served areas 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 for new 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 for new rail services.
In March 2019 the government launched the Future of mobility: urban strategy. This strategy is an extension of the Rail Sector Deal, so again it contains no plans for new rail services
Although the industry has received attention from government, there has been no plan announced to “launch new services to places which are poorly served or host major new housing projects”. 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.