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Railhub Archive
2004-11-01 DfT-001
Department for Transport


New appointment for chairman to the Rail Passengers Committee Western England

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

New appointment for chairman to the Rail Passengers Committee Western England

1 Nov 2004 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

Transport Minister Tony McNulty today announced the re-appointment of Chris Irwin, to the Rail Passengers Committee Western England. Chris Irwin will head the body that represents the interests of rail passengers in Western England for the next two years. In doing so, he will be able to contribute to the delivery of a stronger national organisation that will be created by the changes to the structure of the Rail Passengers Council and Committees as outlined in the "Future of Rail" White Paper, which was published by the Government in July.

Announcing the appointment Tony McNulty said:

"I am pleased to announce that Chris Irwin has been re-appointed as Chairman. For the past four years he has done much to enhance the role of the Western England Committee, for which I am grateful. I am pleased that this re-appointment will give him the chance to continue this good work."

Notes to Editors

1. Biographical details

Chris Irwin lives in Devizes, Wiltshire. He is a social and economic partner member of the South West Regional Assembly, chair of the South West Public Transport Forum and is a member of the infrastructure advisory group to the South West Regional Development Agency. This appointment will run for two years, until 31 October 2006. The post attracts a salary of 18,307 per annum.

2. The Government's White Paper - "The Future of Rail"

On 15 July the Secretary of State, published a White Paper "The Future of Rail". This sets out to streamline the structure of the organisation of the railways, provide a single point of
accountability for performance under Network Rail, allow closer working between track and train and provide for greater local and devolved decision making.

The White Paper acknowledged the Rail Passenger Council's aim to become a more efficient and effective organisation, providing value for money and ensuring that the passenger voice is heard. However, it highlighted that its formal federal structure has not helped its overall effectiveness. In the future, the Rail Passengers Council will operate as a single national body reporting directly to the Secretary of State; a regional presence will be maintained, but the formal federal structure of the regional committees will be dissolved. The transition of the current organisation to a new stronger body will be managed by the Chairman of the Rail Passengers Council and be finalised as soon as possible. In the interim the working relationships will continue. The Rail Passenger Councils independence to operate and its general duty to keep railway matters under review will however be preserved, and it will continue to co-operate with other passenger representative bodies.

3. The Rail Passengers Council/Committees

Rail Passenger Committee Chairmen also become members of the Rail Passengers Council, the national railway passengers' watchdog.

The Rail Passengers Council and the eight regional Rail Passengers Committees were set up under the Railways Act 1993. Under provisions in the Transport Act 2000 sponsorship of the Rail Passenger Council and the Rail Passenger Committees transferred to the Strategic Rail Authority.

The Secretary of State for the Department for Transport appoints the Chairmen of the Rail Passenger Committees in England and Wales.

Rail Passenger Committees operate as watchdogs for users of Britain's rail service. Rail users who do not receive a satisfactory response to their complaint from a train operator can contact the appropriate RPC, which is able to take up the matter on their behalf.

In the case of closures of services or stations, the Rail Passenger Committees have the power to hold public hearings; they can report on possible hardships and propose amendments to alleviate them.

The Rail Passenger Committees can also consider any matter, which is referred to them by the Secretary of State and the Strategic Rail Authority, as well as any matter affecting the railway that they feel they should look into.

The address of the RPC Western England is:

10th Floor
Tower House
Fairfax Street
Phone 0870 336 6135

The Rail Passengers Council and Committees website can be found at

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website:

Railhub Archive ::: 2004-11-01 DfT-001


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