‘I’ve never been in an industry before where growth felt like such a problem,’ says Rick Haythornthwaite, Network Rail’s chairman.
Speaking at the inaugural Bradshaw Address Mr Haythornthwaite urged the 150 rail leaders present to develop a vision which enables the industry to better respond to demand.
He highlighted the trade-offs that need to be considered – capacity vs performance vs costs.
‘The public, rail users and rail staff need to take forward a debate about our railway and its contribution to the health and wealth of our country.
‘This is a growth industry and the great challenge for us is how we cope with increased demand. Yet we feel we don’t have scope to create a network that can rise to that opportunity. And we don’t have the mandate from the public who fund us.
‘I’ve never been in an industry before where growth felt like such a problem. That’s why, to me, it’s counter-intuitive not to be focused on finding a way of moving beyond the impasse that we see ahead of ourselves.
‘We need to frame a vision for the future which enables us to respond to the growing demand for our railways which will help us deliver the kind of service I believe people want, and the country deserves.’