New Office of Rail Passenger Services announced



The Department for Transport’s franchising director Peter Wilkinson has been appointed as managing director of the government’s new Office of Rail Passenger Services.

ORPS will be formally launched on November 1 as a distinct section of the DfT’s rail executive with responsibility for awarding and managing rail franchises. Its creation is in line with the conclusions of the Brown Review of franchising which recommended that a clear and separate organisation should be created to bring together, and provide a clear focus on, the DfT’s
rail passenger services tasks.

Wilkinson initially joined the DfT from his consultancy, First Class Partnerships, in January 2013 on a six-month contract. His role was to relaunch the franchising programme which had been halted following the collapse of the West Coast competition. His contract has been extended several times enabling him to lead the development of a new franchising policy requiring operators to place greater emphasis on management capability and service quality.

His appointment as managing director of ORPS will provide Wilkinson with even greater influence over the development of the DfT’s franchising programme. Sources close to Wilkinson considered that his new role could lead to a significant redrawing of the franchise map with larger franchises broken up to create smaller more distinct businesses focused on specific markets. The move would be in line with Wilkinson’s view that the rail industry is yet to make the full transition to a commercially-led, passenger-orientated business.


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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