The Association of Train Operating Companies set out its proposals in a submission to a review into the industry currently being carried out by Sir Roy McNulty.
The association wants to see the responsibility for most track work shifted from Network Rail to train operators alongside maintenance and improvement work on all stations.
The association wants to see “a greater role for train companies over infrastructure, ranging from train companies working much more closely with Network Rail at a local and regional level, to possible integration of track and train operations in some cases.”
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC said: “The challenge now is to focus more than ever on the passenger and to ensure that we are providing genuine value for money for the taxpayer.
“Giving train companies a greater role and freeing them up to bring more commercial nous into the railways would help to improve services more quickly and effectively and has the potential to save the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds every year.”
The association’s detailed submission states: “There is strong evidence that train operators, with lower overheads and shorter chains of command, can maintain, renew and enhance stations at lower cost than Network Rail.
“ATOC estimates these saving would amount to £250-500 million over five years. To enable this to happen, TOCs should be granted fully repairing and insuring, long term leases at stations; and Network Rail would be able to step back from its operational property responsibility and act purely as a ground landlord.”