Great British Railways
How Rail Business Daily (RBD) views the future of the nation's infrastructure

The reason for Great British Railways

Great British Railways (GBR) is a way of bringing to an end what the UK Government calls “a quarter-century of fragmentation.” The new body is establishing itself as a singular point of leadership for the railways so it can do away with this fractured situation.


Like Network Rail before it, it will own and oversee the nation’s infrastructure. However, one difference is that it will collect the fare revenue and set most fares and timetables – it will run and plan the network with a focus on serving passengers and freight.

What Great British Railways means for the rail industry

Through GBR, the railways will be overseen by a single, guiding mind. It will have a focused purpose: to serve those who rely on rail and bring new customers aboard.


The Great British Railways Transition Team has reached out to the industry to establish a 30-year strategic plan. This plan, which will be put before ministers, will focus on the industry realising its innovative potential.

The government has also said the creation of Great British Railways will bring an end to what it calls “gold-plating and over-specification”.


GBR will have control over station management. Meanwhile, local and community rail partnerships will have the power to influence rail’s social and economic impact.


Already a familiar face in the industry, Transport Focus will become the passenger champion and play an important advisory role to the Secretary of State on people’s priorities.


Perhaps the most significant change is that franchising will end. Instead, operators will sign a Passenger Service Contract, putting customers’ priorities at the forefront as well as the future growth of this base. These contracts are going to be bespoke to each region.


Although GBR will take control over fares and timetables, the government has said that operators will also be afforded some other new commercial freedoms on parts of the network.


But to sign up as an operator, applicant businesses will face greater competition.

What you need to know about Great British Railways

  • GBR will begin operation in 2023.
  • Its leadership has not yet been appointed. Instead, GBR is being shaped by a Great British Railways Transition Team.
  • The organisation arrives after all operators entered into Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements in 2020.
  • GBR will have five regional divisions in line with Network Rail’s Putting Passengers First programme: Scotland, North West & Central, Eastern (including the East Coast Main Line), Wales & Western and Southern (including HS1).
  • Transport bodies that will work with GBR include ScotRail (going into Government ownership), Transport for Wales, London Overground, TfL Rail and Merseyrail.
  • The location of its headquarters is currently to be determined, with regions competing to host.

What benefits Great British Railways will bring to passengers

The focus on the passenger will mean a more responsive service, according to the government. GBR will be able to respond quickly to customer changes in rail use – the most recent being a post-pandemic flattening of demand for pre-9am trains and an increase in leisure use.


This isn’t restricted to services but can alter the way those services are delivered. GBR will be able to cater for redesigning the interiors of trains to meet the new focus of passengers, for example.


These passengers will be able to make use of easy, frictionless payment options for each journey, in addition to digital tickets, and Pay as You Go journeys will become available outside of London.


These fares will be simpler, the government says, and season tickets will reflect changing working patterns.

How RBD will get you on board with Great British Railways

Collaboration with other businesses and reaching out to customers is at the heart of Great British Railways. Rail Business Daily has a huge base of rail specialists – more than 1,000 – that have all joined RBD Community, which is a membership body focused on combining everyone’s strengths to win work.


As well as RBD Community’s networking base, Rail Business Daily has journalists, marketers and public relations experts on hand to help you take your best step forward into an industry established around Great British Railways, ensuring your profile increases and you can compete and get new contracts.


Furthermore, we have expert teams specifically devoted to driving up your business development game and, as you realise your full potential, finding the right staff to expand your business.

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We work extensively with all organisations across UK rail – from influencers and decision-makers to those who deliver network services (Network Rail, train operators, freight operators, light rail) and the vast supply chain. Our vastly experienced rail team supports thousands of organisations UK-wide and overseas.

Talk to us today about how we can help you to raise your profile amongst key rail industry influencers and decision makers. 

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