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1996-11-19 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator addresses charter operators

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Office of the Rail Regulator

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator addresses charter operators

related documents

1996-06-27 Regulator welcomes new charter services Code of Practice (Office of the Rail Regulator)

1996-04-11 Charter train services - Rail Regulator reports on progress (Office of the Rail Regulator)


19 November 1996
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/96/22

The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, told the first Association of Charter Train Operators (ACTO) national conference and business show in Manchester today that he welcomed their formation as one of the many positive developments in an eventful year for charter operators.

Mr Swift stressed the importance of a buoyant charter train market for the rail network and for the achievement of his own aim: "Working together with the industry to create a better railway".

He pointed out that charter services helped in his own duty to promote the use of the network in a number of ways:

"Charters may use capacity which may otherwise remain unused: by providing journey opportunities at times when scheduled operators do not; or by responding to a very specific market need, such as a Christmas special or a nostalgic steam train journey, which scheduled operators may not have sufficient flexibility to fulfill. In this way charter operators fill an important niche, generating extra money for the railways and giving pleasure to many. We must remember also that special interest users attracted to the railway in this way may be encouraged to use the network more widely in the future."

Mr Swift welcomed the fact that ACTO seeks to be, "more than simply a forum for charter promoters", and pointed out to them that, "just as charter promoters want clarity and consistency in their dealings with suppliers, so your own customers will want to understand the service they are provided with. The establishment of consistent, high standards across the charter industry is of significant benefit to all promoters and is entirely compatible with my own objectives.

"To this end, I was pleased to be invited to comment on the Code of Practice currently being drawn up by ACTO. Together with the codes already drawn up by Rail express systems (Res) and by the British Railways Board (BRB) this brings a much needed element of transparency into the market place."

Res introduced their Code of Practice following the Regulator's consultation exercise on charter trains earlier this year. The BRB Code was drawn up more recently, with the assistance of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). It will be adopted by all BR train operators and the privatised train operators will be encouraged to adopt it, or their own Code of Practice based on it.

Looking to the future, Mr Swift continued, "I hope that the adoption of codes of practice by all the major players in the charter industry will make it easier for the charter market to thrive. The codes should clearly enshrine the principle that, whilst the large network owners and operators may have the market power, the rights of the smaller members of the industry must not be overlooked. I would expect these codes of practice to evolve and improve over time to keep pace with the industry as it develops."

He concluded, "I believe that solutions are being put in place to deal with the problems identified by my consultation exercise, and that charter trains have an important place in the future of the privatised railway. I am sure that this association will make a full and responsible contribution to a better railway and a better choice for railway passengers."

Notes to Editors

1. The Regulator consulted the industry on the difficulties being faced by charter train operators in December 1995. Over sixty responses were received, and the Regulator reported on the exercise in April 1996. One of the main recommendations was for Res and the BRB to establish codes of practice for their dealings with charter promoters.

2. Charter train services: a consultation document December 1995, and Charter train services: a report on the Regulator's consultation exercise April 1996, are both available from Sue MacSwan, ORR Library.

3. Res published their Code of Practice on 1 August 1996.

4. The BRB adopted their Code at the end of October, though individual train operators will adopt it over the next few months as they have board meetings. Copies of the BRB Code of Practice can be obtained from Graham Hewett, Deputy Secretary to the Board on 0171 320 0806.

Railhub Archive ::: 1996-11-19 ORR-001


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