Network Rail to create devolved business units

Network Rail is changing its structure and business to better align itself to the needs of both its customers and passengers by creating a number of new, powerful, devolved business units run by managing directors.

Leading the change, Network Rail’s chief executive, David Higgins, said: “Network Rail has saved money and transformed the railway through central control but to make further improvements in all areas we now need to increase responsiveness at a local level.

“We’re devolving accountability to the route level so that we can get closer to our customers and be in a better position to deliver improvements to passengers and freight users, while reducing costs.

“Each new route managing director will, in effect, be running their own infrastructure railway business with significant annual turnover and resources.

“This represents a significant change of emphasis to give our people on the routes the ability and the means to deliver a bigger, better, more affordable railway. However, we’re determined not to undermine the progress that has been made, but to build on the strengths of what we’ve achieved.

“There will continue to be a critical role for a supporting centre that helps make the most of economies of scale. The railway still needs to be planned and operated as a network which operates seamlessly. And we must maintain the company’s focus on efficient and effective management of long-life railway assets.”

Scotland and Wessex routes will be the first to make the change, devolving power from the centre to the routes. This change will start in April. As the changes prove successful in delivering a better service to customers and passengers, the other routes will follow as soon as possible.

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