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  • Our Railway's Future

    Starting a national debate about the future of our railway

  • Early in 2012, Network Rail Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite initiated a programme to gather the views of the British people about the railway and its future. 

    Workshops were held across the length and breadth of the country. Over 300 participants represented the views of different interest groups; commuters, small businesses, big industry and rural communities, non-users and engaged in a strategic debate about the future role of the railway.

    The findings from these workshops have been compiled into a report called ‘Our Railway’s Future’. The report also brings together some new, expert voices discussing some of the key issues facing our railway's future.

    "Short-term pain for long-term gain:building a foundation for the future." 
     

    Small business, Manchester

    "We have good science and engineering in this country; we should use it." 
     

    Commuter, Exeter
     

    "We need more than a trade-off between lousy services and high taxpayer costs." 

    Matthew Sinclair, The TaxPayers' Alliance

    "At some stage we have to get ahead of the game." 

     

    Small business, Birmingham

    Framing the debate

  • Today's railway

    To enable people to enter into the debate in an informed way, it proved important to set out the realities of the railway network today.

    Tomorrow's railway

    In order to prompt strategic debate amongst the public, we worked with Forum for the Future to develop a set of imagined scenarios for how the railway might look in 2025.
     

    The railway in the public imagination

    To properly understand the dynamics of the public debate around the railway, we needed to understand the context for that debate in the minds of the public.

    A national dialogue

    Having set out the realities for today’s railway and explored possible scenarios for tomorrow’s railway, we conducted a series of public engagement workshops.
     
     
  • Perspectives on the railway

    The final section of this report offers a series of perspectives on the railway from leading figures in and commentators on the industry. Each of them discusses a different aspect of the future of the railway, from economic growth to social value, from freight to new technologies, from private sector funding to integrated transport solutions. In addition, leading industry bodies set out what they see as the top priorities for the industry going forward. Together they represent an agenda for debate on the future of our railway.

    Downloads

    Download the complete 126 page report

    Our Railway's future report - front cover 
  • A short film about the workshops that were held

    Video transcript