The Transport Secretary has issued this statement following the Government's rail franchise announcement today:
These plans mark an important step on the way to restarting the franchising programme, and while I am determined this should happen as quickly as possible we do need time to get this right.
We have had to take some tough decisions regarding franchising, and while they may provide a challenge in the short term, I believe the lessons we have learnt will help deliver a more robust system in the future benefitting fare payers and taxpayers alike.
As always our priority is to ensure these changes will not impact on services or our commitment to improving the railways.
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