Transport East shares views on draft Rail Reform Bill at Transport Select Committee

Andrew at Transport Select Committee

On 21 May 2024, our Chief Executive Andrew Summers spoke at the Transport Select Committee who are scrutinising the draft Rail Reform Bill, before it goes through Parliament.

The Rail Reform Bill is an important piece of legislation which will bring together ‘track and train’ planning, investment and delivery into a single guiding-mind for the railway network – the Integrated Rail Body, or Great British Railways. If got right, this should improve efficiency, provide better outcomes and increase value for money.

Transport East supports the Rail Reform Bill which provides the foundations for an Integrated Rail Body. However, we do believe there is a larger role for STBs to have in the planning and delivery of rail investment and services. We appreciated the opportunity to expand on our written evidence to the Transport Select Committee on the Bill.

Across England devolution of powers and influence in transport decisions are inconsistent. Within the East, local authority leaders currently have little formal input in the rail services or investment decisions. Transport East local authority partners have approved our role to represent them on strategic rail matters and to make sure rail investment is considered as part of a truly integrated approach to transport networks in the East.

Transport East has an approved regional Transport Strategy and a Strategic Investment Programme, both of which have been informed by wide regional engagement and consultation. They set the priorities for the region, balancing passenger and freight needs to meet balanced social, economic and environmental objectives. It is important the new IRB recognises the role and value STB’s have to bring national and regional priorities together effectively.

In summary, we would like the Rail Reform Bill to be clearer about how the new Integrated Rail Body (IRB) will have to take account of STB strategies, how it expects the IRB to be accountable to regions consistently and how the new body will deliver rail within an integrated transport network to achieve positive outcomes for people, businesses while supporting net zero ambitions.

Click here to watch the scrutiny of the draft Rail Reform Bill.

Andrew’s answers are available below:


Views on draft bill and why it is important to the region


The formal role for STBs within rail


The accountability of an Integrated Rail Body and how could the relationship work between Great British Rail and STBs


Final comments