The Conservative Party did not spring any rail announcements surprises, at their Autumn 2019 conference in Manchester.
Due to spiralling costs, Tranport Secretary and rail commuter, Grant Shapps, ordered a review of HS2 data and policy, in August 2019. However, HS2 policy updates should be announced by government, at the end of October 2019 and the Department for Transport does not want to prejudice the HS2 (Oakervee) review with a running commentary before this time.
Although, the Conservative Party announced transport policy updates only on roads and buses, the Transport Secretary re-stated the following points, in his speech, about the current Conservative rail policy:
- The incumbent Conservative government is embarking on the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times, to deliver better, quicker journeys for passengers: they will spend £48 billion delivering major projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, rolling out new trains and upgrading and electrifying hundreds of miles of track (HMT, Budget – 29 October 2018).
- The Conservatives are introducing a new system that will measure train delays to-the-minute, giving passengers more information and helping them hold those responsible for delays accountable. New ‘On-Time’ statistics will establish an industry standard for measuring performance, in which train punctuality is measured to-the-minute, not the traditional 5 or 10 minutes of the timetabled arrival (DfT, News Story, 19 September 2019).
- The Conservative Party launched the William’s review to transform Britain’s railways to improve services and provide better value for money for passengers. Our expert panel will make recommendations to improve the current franchising model in terms of reliability, delivering better services and value for money for passengers. (DfT, News Story, 20 September 2018).
Rail Forum Midlands communications co-ordinator, will bring you the official HS2 review policy update, as soon as it is formally announced.
RFM resourced this information from the Conservative Party research department.