‘We’re tired of hearing that we are more expensive,’ Network Rail’s director of network operations told last week’s Rail Industry Reform conference.

Network Rail’s director of network operations gave a clear commitment to ending the rail infrastructure controllers’s monopoly last week.

Speaking at the Passenger Transport-sponsored Rail Industry Reform conference in London, Robin Gisby said that letting a rival company run part of Britain’s rail infrastructure was the only way for Network Rail to discover how well it is performing.

“Something I can say we are fundamentally determined to do over the next two or three years is to somehow, somewhere, give up our monopoly – for somebody else to do some of the many things that we do,” he told delegates.

“We are rather tired of hearing that we are 31% more expensive than other people. I don’t know if it’s 34%, 36%, 28% or whatever.

“I don’t know if other railway administrations are slightly better at hiding subsidy in dark corners than perhaps some of the transport organisations that we’ve got in this country.

He continued: “The only way we will get away from that argument as an organisation is to let somebody else have a go at some of the stuff we do.”

He pointed out that Network Rail had beaten off foreign challengers for the contract to maintain the High Speed One line, which links London and the Channel Tunnel. He said he hoped the HS1 team would get the chance to win business elsewhere, perhaps on the continent.

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