The rail industry is at a crucial turning point and must lead change to keep growing and improving, according to Rail Delivery Group chairman and managing director of UK Trains at Arriva Chris Burchell.
Burchell is due to speak at the annual George Bradshaw address tonight (February 28), where he will set out a vision of a dynamic railway “driven by customers” and call for a new relationship between the railway and its customers, workforce and governments.
“Some of the things we have done to improve in the past, such as making trains and infrastructure more reliable, are no longer enough given how busy the railway has become,” Burchell will tell attendees.
“There are those who believe that the way forward is to go backwards, to the structures and systems of the past, in pursuit of the golden age of rail. If such an age ever existed, it was only in our imaginations. It certainly didn’t exist for many of the customers who experienced it.
“If we want to be true to our past, we need to embrace change. And we don’t have long to do it.”
Burchell will call upon the railway to focus on three key relationships to ensure success: “a new relationship with customers; a new partnership with our people; and a new partnership with governments”.
He believes trials by train companies to simplify fares are “a great example of a tough nut to crack”, where industry and government are working together to deliver the kind of change that is needed.