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MERSEYSIDE COUNCILS PLAN RAILWAY TAKEOVER

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A group of five local authorities on Merseyside have drawn up proposals to take over a large part of Network Rail, ...
A group of five local authorities on Merseyside have drawn up proposals to take over a large part of Network Rail, the track and infrastructure operator, reported The Independent on Sunday (Business, p3).

If approved, the plan would reunite the operations of trains and track under one company for the first time since rail privatisation. The proposals have been devised by Merseytravel, the public sector transport authority controlled by the local councils, and Merseyrail Electrics, the train franchise operated by Holland's Ned Railways and Serco, which runs London's Docklands Light Railway.

The plan was delivered earlier this month to transport minister Kim Howells, Strategic Rail Authority chairman Richard Bowker and rail regulator Tom Winsor.

Neil Scales, director general of Merseytravel, said:'We are trying to do something a bit radical in Merseyside. If we shorten the command chain then we can do a more effective job than Network Rail'.

Merseytravel is aggrieved by Network Rail's proposals to reduce the level of maintenance and renewals to meet stringent cost savings imposed by the rail regulator.
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