My colleague Mark Odell reveals today that the new transport secretary is expected to announce this week who has won the first rail franchise award since the general election. Three bidders are up for the Greater Anglia network, he reports.
But for those with an interest in Britain’s rail system the award will tell us little about where the government is going in terms of rail policy as the announcement comes while the department is still formulating its position – a process that appears to be taken longer than originally envisaged, according to my colleague.
This week’s agreement doesn’t seem to fit into the coalition’s desire for longer, more stable franchises: instead it will be for just 17 months.
It will be interesting to see if Justine Greening is asked about it this afternoon in her first outing as transport secretary – appearing at 3.30pm at the transport select committee. Of equal interest will be to see whether Ms Greening answers directly about how the coalition will expand aviation capacity (she was a fervent opponent of Heathrow’s third runway) or whether she fudges the issue.