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East Devon railways shake-up

The future of East Devon’s railways was the focus of scrutiny this week, as the government released its long-awaited proposals to shake up the organisation of Britain’s rail network.
The government announced on May 20 that they had agreed a new National Rail Contract (NRC) for the local train operating company South Western Railway (SWR). They will now continue to run services between Exeter and Waterloo until at least May 2023. The new contract will commence on May 30th when the present Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement with SWR comes to an end.
Under the new agreement, the government bears all of the revenue risk and most of the cost risk of running the service. SWR will earn a fixed management fee is £3.3m per year, and there is the opportunity to earn an additional fee of up to £9.9m, based on performance targets.
At the same time, the government announced a planned shake-up of the rail industry, with the proposed formation of a new body: Great British Railways. This is expected to replace Network Rail by 2023.
The new body will set the timetables and ticket prices, sell tickets and manage rail infrastructure. They will then manage the NRCs granted to companies to run the services. The Government has promised that the reforms will lead to new forms of ticketing, including flexible season tickets and greater use of digital tickets on smartphones.
The proposals follow a review lead by Keith Williams, the former head of British Airways. He said: “What we’ve done is listen to what customers want out of rail and react to that. And that really is a more reliable, punctual service and better opportunities when buying tickets.”
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said the railways had suffered from what he called “Years of fragmentation, confusion and over-complication.” He added: “It’s now time to kickstart reforms that give the railways solid and stable foundations for the future, unleashing the competitive, innovative and expert abilities of the…

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