Rail Interview: Rail Minister and Transport Committee Chair set out their views on rail policy
Today, the Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP and Transport Committee Chair Huw Merriman MP took part in two separate interviews with Sunday Times Transport Editor Nicholas Hellen, as part of the online Conservative Party Conference.
During his interview, the Rail Minister confirmed:
- He supported the acceleration of rail projects as part of the Government’s economic recovery;
- That he was ‘deadly serious’ about the decarbonisation of the rail network; and
- That franchising was ending, with the Government shifting to a different model based on the Williams Rail Review.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, responded: “The Rail Minister’s commitment to leading an economic recovery through rail investment, with a particular focus on decarbonisation, is to be welcomed. Rail should be leading the UK’s economic bounceback and should be front and centre as the Government prepares the Spending Review. Rail generates a significant economic return and touches every corner of the UK, making it a clear candidate to lead the UK’s economic revival.”
Transport Committee Chair Huw Merriman MP was also interviewed by Hellen, and stated that:
- The Committee would be relaunching its ‘Trains Fit for the Future’ inquiry, looking at decarbonisation;
- Greater visibility and certainty was needed for the rail sector; and
- Agreed that rail investment could be part of the UK’s economic bounceback.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, added: “It was great to have Huw Merriman attend our Rail Interview today and confirm that the Transport Committee will be relaunching its ‘Trains Fit for the Future’ inquiry into how we develop a rail network for the future. RIA and our members contributed significantly to the previous inquiry, before the 2019 General Election, which provides a valuable opportunity to see how the rail supply industry can support the Government’s plans for decarbonising the rail network.”