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Railhub Archive
1997-05-08 DoT-001
Department of Transport


Strang sounds warning to private rail operators

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Office of the Rail Regulator
South West Trains

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Department of Transport

Strang sounds warning to private rail operators

8 May 1997
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 98

Minister for Transport Gavin Strang, today sounded a warning to train
companies about the standards of service to passengers that they
would be required to meet in future.

Responding to the announcement by Rail Franchising Director John
O'Brien that private rail operator South West Trains had improved its
performance after widespread cancellations in February and March, Dr
Strang said:

"We met the Franchising Director last night to express our
dissatisfaction with the performance of South West Trains. The
company has now achieved the level of service the Franchising
Director requires, and he will not therefore be proceeding with a
fine against it on this occasion. I am assured that the Franchising
Director is satisfied that there will be no repetition of the
cancellations which occurred in February and March. I hope these
assurances will be justified by events: passengers on South West
Trains have suffered intolerable inconvenience in the last few months
and it must not happen again. I have insisted that the Franchising
Director should ensure South West Trains' future performance is kept
under closest scrutiny, and that it sustains its improved performance

"The privatised railway receives hundreds of millions of pounds in
subsidy from taxpayers each year, and we expect high quality services
in return. We have asked for a report on the shortcomings of the
sanctions currently available to the regulators, to assist in our
review of the railway. Our clear aim is to ensure that the
regulation of the privatised rail industry is strengthened in the
interests of passengers. The South West Trains episode supports our
belief that the weapons currently available to the regulators are
inadequate. Let me assure passengers that this Government will use
all the tools at its disposal to ensure that the public interest
always comes first.

"Train operators across the country are on warning: this Government
will not tolerate inadequate performance."

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-05-08 DoT-001


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