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Britain's rail industry praised as one for Europe to emulate

The way the railways are run in Britain has been commended by a Europe-wide passengers’ organisation.

The European Passengers’ Federation (EPF) has singled out the British model of a liberalised railway network as one which has delivered high levels of quality and performance to customers, and one which other EU operators should aspire to.

A representative from the EPF made the comment during an EU Commission seminar recently. The seminar, held in Brussels and attended by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), looked at the level of market opening in a number of countries including the UK, Germany, Italy and Sweden.

The EU Commission has concluded that successful market opening should incorporate many features already present in the British model of running the railways, including: a national ticketing system with interavailable ticketing and fair revenue allocation; independent regulation; the operation of impartial retailing systems; and information provision at stations.

Other European railway operators present also supported many of these concepts as a good model, which could meet the Commission’s objectives of further liberalisation of the rail network in other European states. Independent monitoring of passengers’ opinions (as carried out in Britain through the National Passenger Survey) was singled out by the EPF as a further feature which other European systems could do well to follow.

Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC, said: “Like many industries, the railways are facing a tough time, so it is heartening to get support and praise for the British railways from our European counterparts.

“UK operators, along with other industry partners, will continue to work hard to make sure the railways continue to improve and offer the best services possible.”

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