Alliance agreements signal the way to savings and improvements06 March 2012
We are committed to bringing down barriers to greater co-operation in the rail industry. By alliancing, we can work more efficiently with ultimate benefits to the taxpayer, passengers and freight users.
In response to the Office of Rail Regulation’s support for our new alliances with train operators, Paul Plummer, our group strategy director, said: “Working with train operators in an alliance framework we will be able to better align incentives and see quicker, more joined-up, decision making. There will be a joint focus to drive continuous safety improvement and the needs of all customers – franchised, open access or freight – will be safeguarded.”
Working more closely with operators
Alliance framework agreements have so far been made or about to be made with several operators and discussions continue with all other operators on how we can work more closely together and these may lead to further alliance agreements. We are also discussing the opportunity for further alliancing as part of refranchising.
An integrated way of working
A potentially different kind of alliance, called a deep alliance, is being developed involving the Wessex route (one of our devolved operational regions) and South West Trains. This may see the establishment of a single, senior joint management team formed to look after both train and track on the Wessex route operating out of Waterloo – a much more integrated way of working.
The alliances will be discrete individual agreements with each operator but all the agreements have some common features including:
- Network Rail and the operator will remain separate entities
- Employees will continue to have the same employer (with their current terms and conditions)
- Each company continues to be ultimately accountable for their own areas of responsibility
- The interests of other passenger rail companies and freight operators are protected
The agreements in place commit the companies to working together and to work up specified projects where there is an opportunity for more integrated working and an opportunity to improve the service to passengers or reduce cost. The alliances may look at how stations can be better managed to provide a better service to passengers, how engineering work can be better planned or how improvements to train punctuality can be delivered.