This is how the government threw the new rail plan into the public domain, just minutes before MPs and the media went off for their holidays in Tuscany…
The Railways Act 2005 places a statutory duty on the Government to set out every five years how much public expenditure it wishes to devote to rail and specify what it wants the railway to deliver, notably in relation to safety, reliability and capacity. The formal statement, including the High Level Output Specification and Statement of funds available, is contained within the White Paper. It covers the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2014.
The White Paper looks at the potential future challenges for the railway over a 30-year horizon. It identifies three long-term agendas for Government and the rail industry working in partnership: increasing the capacity of the railway, delivering a quality service for passengers, and fulfilling rail’s environmental potential.
There is no such thing as a simple statement of intent on the railways anymore – the summary document is a glossy 12 pager, but the detailed appendices and HLOS will need some proper analysis – ideal reading material on the beach, no doubt.