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Rail franchising is on track

THE UK Government is to restart its crisis-hit rail franchising programme after an independent review concluded the system was not broken but in need of reform.

A report by Eurostar chairman Richard Brown, ordered after the collapse of the West Coast rail franchise competition in October, shunned radical measures such as re-nationalisation, insisting the system of contracting private train operators to run services was "fundamentally sound" and had helped achieve a 92% growth in passengers since privatisation.

He said: "Britain's railways are now the second safest in Europe.

"Franchising is an important component of the privatised industry structure, and it is highly unlikely that these successes could have been delivered if franchising was fundamentally flawed."

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