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Industry gives reaction to publication of Shaw Report

17 March 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

On 16 March 2016, the Department for Transport published the final Shaw Report giving recommendations for the future shape and financing of Network Rail.

Industry gives reaction to publication of Shaw Report

The Department for Transport has published findings of Nicola Shaw’s review of Network Rail’s long-term structure and financing.

In July 2015 Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive of HS1, was asked to provide options for the future shape and financing of Network Rail in order to support growth and investment. Her report confirms that the rail network should be held as a national asset and a key public service. In addition, the review builds upon efforts Network Rail is already undertaking and focusses on steps to improve performance for passengers and freight users.

Shaw Report recommends new northern route and freight route

According to the Department for Transport, The Shaw report proposes strengthening the role of Network Rail route managers to increase accountability and efficiency. It also recommends a new northern route, and a new freight route to ensure the rail freight industry can continue to contribute to growth.

The final Shaw Report can be downloaded in full here.

Commenting on Nicola Shaw’s review, Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “I welcome Nicola’s report and her engagement with us and the industry in developing it.

“I’m pleased that she has concluded that the reforms we are introducing in Network Rail are the right ones.

“We are committed to putting passengers and customers at the heart of what we do, and our devolved business model will put decisions in the routes, closer to the passengers and train companies.

“more private money and funding from the people who will benefit from railway improvements is a sensible way to deliver a bigger and better railway for the nation”

“I also endorse her desire to see more private finance coming into the railways. We have been successful with this in the past and I consider that more private money and funding from the people who will benefit from railway improvements is a sensible way to deliver a bigger and better railway for the nation.

“We’ll work with the Department for Transport as they now consider these recommendations and we look forward to a future which I genuinely believe is bright for the railways and for the ever growing number of passengers.

Shaw Report recommendations in summary…


Place the needs of passengers and freight shippers at the heart of rail infrastructure management.


Focus on the customer through deeper route devolution, supported by independent regulation.


Create a route for the North.


Clarify the government’s role in the railway and Network Rail.


Plan the railway based on customer, passenger and freight needs.


Explore new ways of paying for the growth in passengers and freight on the railway.


Develop industry wide plans to develop skills and improve diversity.

Industry reaction…

Maggie Simpson, Rail Freight Group (RFG) Executive Director, said: “We are pleased that Nicola Shaw has listened to the voice of the freight industry and made balanced recommendations will which support growth in our sector.  We look forward to working with Network Rail and Government to develop the details of these proposals over the coming months.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), commented: “The review acknowledges the importance of continuing to create a bigger, better railway for Britain. Our biggest challenge is to plan and build for the ever growing demand for rail, increasing capacity and modernising to provide more and better services which meet the needs of passengers, freight customers and the economy.

“Across the rail industry there is broad agreement about the need to improve local transparency, with empowered route businesses accountable to passenger and freight service operators to provide a much clearer relationship to rail users. We are keen to help maintain momentum of change started in Network Rail.

“Everyone – governments, the rail industry and its partners – must therefore agree a clear plan that we can all align behind as quickly as possible, to avoid unnecessary uncertainty.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said:  “Nicola Shaw has made it clear the Government should resist calls to break up or privatise Network Rail. In making her recommendations, she has listened to Campaign for Better Transport and others and put forward positive reforms which will strengthen the voice of passengers, encourage investment and help the railways grow.

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