Network Rail to spin off Wales as single business

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
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Railway lines in Wales are to be managed and maintained as a single entity for the first time in the industry’s history.

Network Rail plans to create a new devolved business unit for Wales and the Marches as part of the break up of the network into regional operating businesses.

The Welsh rail infrastructure is currently subsumed in the large Western region, which is based in Swindon and covers InterCity, commuter, regional and rural railways from Anglesey and Cornwall to London’s western suburbs.

After the shake-up this will move to Cardiff which will become the new management centre.

David Higgins, Network Rail’s chief executive, said: “Network Rail has saved money and transformed the railway through central control but to make further improvements in Wales we now need to increase responsiveness at a local level by operating with a one-Wales strategy.

“We’re devolving accountability so that we can get closer to our customers and be in a better position to deliver improvements to passengers and freight users, while forging stronger ties with the Welsh Assembly Government to unlock any untapped potential on the railway.

“The Wales route managing director will, in effect, be running their own infrastructure railway business with significant annual turnover and resources.

Network Rail is rolling out its radical break-up plans to hand power to nine new regional operating units in a bid to force through efficiency savings worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

From April, work will start to devolve power on the first routes in Scotland and Wessex, which matches the lines operated by South West Trains out of Waterloo in London.

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