Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper said the railways ‘quite frankly, aren’t fit for purpose’ at the annual George Bradshaw Address on 7 February.
Discussing rail finances, he said season ticket sales are at 28% of pre-Covid levels, that revenue is between £125 million and £175 million lower each month and that ‘any other industry would have collapsed years ago’. He said railways only survived due to the public purse: ‘I won’t mince my words: operating the railways is now financially unsustainable and it isn’t fair to continue asking taxpayers to foot the bill.’
In a wide-ranging speech, he said the Government would establish Great British Railways and that the winner of its headquarters competition will be announced before Easter.
In the summer, the Government will respond to consultation on GBR’s legislative powers, and that the GBR Transition team will publish a guiding long-term strategy for rail which will be published later this year.