Rail Delivery Group needs resources – and ATOC has them

Initial discussions have taken place between the Rail Delivery Group and the Association of Train Operating Companies which could lead to some ATOC departments being subsumed into the RDG. The rationale for the move would be to provide the RDG with the capability to carry out its industry leadership role more effectively.

“In terms of what the industry needs going forward, there is a logic to examining ‘synergies’ between RDG’s role and ATOC because the RDG doesn’t actually have permanent resources – a business support service – to do what it needs to,” an industry source familiar with the discussions told Passenger Transport. “ATOC already provides that for the passenger side so it’s a matter of looking at what bits you can join together to make it work,
but it’s not a done deal yet.”

Issues that would have to be resolved include how to ensure the RDG has sufficient resources with experience of freight industry and suppliers’ requirements and ensuring passenger train operators retain an adequate separate forum.

Senior railway figures said that the discussions could be a first step for the RDG to evolve into an independent public sector industry leadership body at arms’ length from government rather than being led by executives from Network Rail and train operators’ owning groups in their ‘spare time’. It is understood that soundings taken by the McNulty Review, which recommended the creation of the RDG, favoured this structure, but the transport secretary at that time, Philip Hammond, insisted an industry group should take responsibility for leadership.

The ‘beefed up’ RDG would potentially sit alongside an independent franchising authority similar to the former OPRAF, a concept which has gained support among some senior staff in the Department for Transport. The DfT is due to announce its conclusions on where future franchising responsibility will lie by the end of this year.

 

THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN PASSENGER TRANSPORT.

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