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'First class only' and no-frills style trains as part of rail reforms, industry body says

The Rail Delivery Group has unveiled its vision for the future of rail services. Credit: PA

The rail industry unveils its vision for the future of services in Britain which involves the emergence of "First Class Only" trains and no-frills Ryanair style trains.

It comes as the body representing rail companies, Rail Delivery Group (RDG), has released a report calling for new reforms.

The RDG also said the existing franchise system is "broken" and will call for removal of politicians from running rail.

So what does this mean?

The RDG has called for the emergence of posh 'First Class Only' trains and no frills Ryanair style trains. Credit: PA

RDG has developed two options for on-rail competition, in light of the benefits it brings "to deliver different customer propositions to the passenger along the same route."

It will be similar to the current competition between Virgin West Coast and the London North Western Railway - which runs the same route but Virgin is more expensive and the faster service of the two.

"While Virgin offers a more premium service and North Western offers a cheaper service, both meet the needs of their respective markets," the RDG has said.

What else has the RDG called for?

The RDG believes the current "one size fits all" approach to franchising should be replaced by a more bespoke model.

The rail body added that control of commuter routes could be handed over to local authorities and suggests commuter routes could be organised in a similar way to Transport for London in the capital.

The RDG has called for the removal of politicians from running rail. Credit: PA

How could this benefit you?

The RDG's vision to introduce radical changes to fares, with flexible pricing spreading demand more evenly could "potentially reducing overcrowding by up to a third on the busiest services".

The Department of Transport’s supervision has been criticised over projects such as the botched introduction of new timetables in May 2018 and reorganisation on services including Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern.

Mick Cash has said RDG's demands could lead to fare rises 'by the minute'. Credit: PA

How have rail critics responded?

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Cash accused the RDG of proposing a "deregulated free-for-all" that would lead to fare rises "by the minute" and a break from "the last shreds of accountability".

Whereas Anthony Smith, who's the chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, is less sceptical and said passengers would "ultimately judge" whether any changes result in improved reliability, more space to stand or sit and better value for money.

What happens next?

The Rail Review is being chaired by former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams and his inquiry will conclude in the autumn.

He has previously said the way train companies are contracted to run services are "no longer delivering clear benefits".