Monday 28 October 2019 7:00 pm

Rail: Williams review recommendations 'could take 10 years to implement'

Some recommendations of an upcoming wide-ranging independent review into Britain’s railways could take up to a decade to implement, the review’s chairman suggested today.

Keith Williams, who heads up the Williams Review, told MPs that the government would be able to bring some of his suggestions about in a short timeframe, others would require primary legislation.

“There is a longer term five or 10 year programme to bring about fundamental change. Completion, if you like,” he told the transport select committee.

Williams, who is writing the government’s whitepaper on the matter to be implemented over the coming years, added that his recommendations would likely work regardless of which party is in power.

Even if Labour, which intends to renationalise Britain’s railways, comes to power, “there is significant change that we can make that I believe should be made, in the interests of a railway for the public,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot of the things that we are looking at that would be common to whatever political persuasion is in power,” he added.

“The passenger fundamentally is not interested in whether this is nationalised or not. What they want is something that works.”

The review is expected to land in the coming weeks.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “It is clear from Keith Williams’ evidence to the Transport Select Committee that he is developing recommendations which, if implemented, will see significant changes to how the UK’s railways are structured and run in the future. In particular, we welcome and agree with his commitment to a thirty-year vision for our rail network, that will help the industry to plan and implement improvements.