New railway body for UK announced in Queen’s Speech

The creation of a new public sector body to oversee Britain’s railways has been included in the Queen’s Speech. Great British Railways (GBR) will “simplify” the rail network and improve services for passengers, according to a Downing Street briefing document on the Transport Bill. It will absorb the state-owned infrastructure management company Network Rail and take on many functions from the Department for Transport.

GBR will issue passenger service contracts to private companies to run trains. The briefing document stated that it will “act as the single national leader of the railways”, with “a clear mandate, goals and budgets set by the Government, who will reserve powers of direction”. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps launched a competition in February for towns and cities to make the case why they should host the headquarters of the organisation.

The Transport Bill is also aimed at enabling “innovation” and providing “new choices for the public”. It includes measures relating to private e-scooters, which are currently banned from use on public roads and pavements. The Bill features legislation to allow self-driving and remotely-operated vehicles and vessels.

It supports the rollout of more electric vehicles chargepoints as part of the transition from petrol and diesel models. Legislation to introduce licensing of London pedicabs is included. The High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill also featured in the Government’s legislative programme for the forthcoming parliamentary session.

This will provide the powers to build and operate HS2 between Crewe and Manchester.

The route includes new stations at Manchester Airport and adjacent to Manchester Piccadilly station.

Services are expected to start between 2035 and 2041.




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