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  • A boy looks out of a train window

    Future of rail

Future of rail

The railway transports millions of people each day. It plays a vital role in reducing carbon emissions, air pollution and traffic on our roads, contributing to our economy and transporting people of all ages. 

But reforms to our railways are sorely needed. 

  • Fares continue to rise, pricing people on lower incomes off the railways. We need an overhaul of the fares system to make rail travel more affordable
  • When buying a train ticket, it can be hard to know if you're getting the best deal. We need fairer, simpler, more transparent ticketing, and better-value flexible tickets to suit part-time and hybrid workers
  • Overcrowding is a problem, with too many people paying thousands of pounds to stand in aisles, vestibules and even toilet cubicles. We must continue to invest in better stations, track and rolling stock and reduce overcrowding
  • Too many trains are delayed or cancelled. Train services should match the timetable and when there are delays it should be simple for passengers to get compensation
  • Important rail electrification schemes have been halted. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from transport are likely to stall unless these schemes are resumed
  • Too many people live out of reach of a rail station. Stations must be better connected by public transport, walking and cycling. And many more rail lines and stations must be built and reopened. We're calling for a national programme of rail reopenings; we've identified 33 top-priority lines that would put 500,000 people in reach of the railways.

The Government's William-Shapps Plan for Rail aims to address some of these problems and promises a 'root and branch' reform of the fares and ticketing system.

"We welcome this plan with its focus on the needs of passengers, simpler fares and contactless ticketing. But the devil will be in the detail. Will there be single-leg pricing to make fares fair and transparent? Will the very welcome commitment to grow the rail network be backed by proper funding so that disconnected communities can access the opportunities that rail brings? It's also vital that Network Rail can be held to account under these new arrangements.

"If we're to avoid a car-led recovery after Covid, with disastrous traffic jams, pollution and communities being left behind, it's more vital than ever that the rail network properly meets people's needs."

- Paul Tuohy, Campaign for Better Transport

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