Fresh start to the franchising programme

The Rail Delivery Group, which is the leadership group for Britain’s railway industry, has expressed its support for the Government’s publication of the franchising programme, which has been announced today.

Graham Smith, Director-General of the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“As the leadership group for the rail industry the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is pleased that the Secretary of State’s announcement has restored clarity to the franchising programme. Many of the RDG’s franchising priorities were included in the Brown Review report and it is encouraging that this announcement demonstrates the Government’s support for Brown’s recommendations on restarting the franchise programme”.

The announcement by the Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, includes:

  • A full, detailed and sustainable franchising programme of three to four competitions a year over the next eight years;
  • The immediate start of the competition for the East Coast franchise;
  • The intention to exercise a number of contractual extensions with current operators and also to negotiate a series of direct awards with current operators;
  • The creation of a Franchise Advisory Panel, headed by Richard Brown; and
  • A revised franchising policy statement.

Graham Smith continued:

“Britain’s railways have enjoyed significant growth and investment – restoring passenger, taxpayer and investor confidence in the franchising process will allow this growth to continue. A restart of the franchising programme, a transparent procurement process and clarity on what Government wishes the passenger railway to provide will all help re-establish confidence and enable franchisees to deliver improved services for passengers”.

The Rail Delivery Group submitted franchising priorities to the independent review of franchising chaired by Richard Brown in November 2012. Since that time the RDG and its Members have held detailed discussions with the Department for Transport regarding the timing and content of the franchising programme.

Graham Smith concluded:

“Rail Delivery Group Members will continue to work collaboratively with government to deliver the new programme, including franchise extensions where these are required, to get the best deal for passengers.”


Notes to editors

1. Rail Delivery Group Limited (RDG) brings together the owners of Britain's passenger Train Operating Companies, Freight Operating Companies and Network Rail to provide leadership to Britain's rail industry.

2. The priorities being pursued by the RDG are

  • Providing leadership to Britain’s rail industry;
  • Being the collective voice of the rail industry;
  • Developing policies, strategies and plans for the coherent management of the rail industry and advancing the provision of a safe, efficient, high quality rail service for users and taxpayers;
  • Identifying opportunities to improve Britain’s railways through a new approach to franchising and other commercial initiatives;
  • Embracing technology and innovation in the working environment to enhance the contribution made by one of the industry’s key assets, its workforce;
  • Improving the asset, programme and supply-chain management of the rail industry through closer co-operation between Network Rail, operators and suppliers;
  • Taking a proactive role in the introduction of innovative technology on to the GB rail network including smart ticketing, communications technology and the practical application of the ideas contained in the Rail Technical Strategy;
  • Exploring ways to improve the efficiency of the industry structure through removing overlaps and duplications, introducing flexible commercial and contractual agreements within the industry, between industry and Government and between the industry and its suppliers;
  • Building on the development of a rolling stock strategy to identify value for money opportunities in rolling stock provision and procurement;
  • Ensuring that there is an awareness of key rail freight issues; and
  • Continuing to lead the industry’s long-term-planning activities.​

3. Membership of Rail Delivery Group Limited is


  • Dominic Booth (Director)
  • Jeff Hoogesteger (Alternate)


  • David Martin (Director)
  • Bob Holland (Alternate)

DB Schenker Rail 

  • Alain Thauvette (Director)
  • Nigel Jones (Alternate)

Directly Operated Railways 

  • Doug Sutherland (Director)
  • Michael Holden (Alternate)

First Group 

  • Tim O’Toole (Director)
  • Vernon Barker (Alternate)


  • Peter Maybury (Director)
  • Lindsay Durham (Alternate)


  • David Brown (Director)
  • Alistair Gordon (Alternate)

National Express 

  • Dean Finch (Director)
  • Andrew Chivers (Alternate)

Network Rail 

  • David Higgins (Director)
  • Paul Plummer (Director)
  • Patrick Butcher (Alternate)
  • Robin Gisby (Alternate)


  • Ian Downie (Director)
  • Jonathan Brown (Alternate)


  • Martin Griffiths (Director)
  • Sir Brian Souter (Alternate)


  • Tony Collins (Director)
  • Patrick McCall (Alternate)

Director-General - Graham Smith 

Attending meetings of Rail Delivery Group Limited

  • Michael Roberts, ATOC 


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