Industry planning activities

Much of the rail industry’s planning for enhancements to the network is facilitated by Network Rail as part of the Long Term Planning Process (LTPP).

Alongside this, RDG and other bodies lead a number of workstreams which inform industry planning in various ways.

planning activities diagram

Long Term Planning Process

The LTPP consists of a number of different elements, which, when taken together, seek to define the future capability of the rail network over a 30-year horizon:

  • Market Studies forecast future rail demand, and develop conditional outputs for future rail services in each of four key markets. These outputs are based on stakeholders’ views of how rail services can support delivery of the industry’s strategic goals.
  • Route Studies develop options for future services and identify options for investment in the rail network for specific areas of the network. Options are based on the conditional outputs and demand forecasts from the Market Studies, and are assessed against industry appraisal criteria to provide choices for funders.
  • Cross-Boundary Analysis considers options for services that run across multiple routes, providing consistent assumptions across Route Studies.
  • Network Studies consider network wide issues such as providing capacity for freight, or enhancing the inclusivity of the railway.

Each study or analysis is delivered through a Working Group, including funders and train and freight operators, which will consult wider stakeholders such as local authorities, passengers, freight users and their representatives and Local Enterprise Partnerships as part of their work. A Board oversees the delivery of the work and all studies will be published on Network Rail’s website in draft form and subject to consultation for 90 days. The final study will then be established within 60 days of its publication subject to approval from the Office of Rail Regulation.

Industry working groups

Planning Oversight Group (POG) is supported by, and works alongside, a range of other industry working groups designed to fulfil various objectives:

  • Technical Leadership Group – facilitated by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), responsible for formulating the Rail Technical Strategy (RTS), originally published in 2012 and followed by an updated delivery framework in the RTS Capability Delivery Plan, published in February 2017.
  • Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group (RSSSG) – key output of this group is the annual Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry, new editions of which are published every March. A key output of the strategy is a series of forecasts of the numbers of passenger vehicles expected to be required across each sector by traction type.
  • Depot and Stabling Steering Group – a subgroup of RSSSG which considers the implications of the rolling stock strategy on depot and stabling facilities
  • Stations Strategy Group – provides industry leadership on issues associated with stations. Produced the RDG Vision for Stations in October 2015. The Vision positions stations as inclusive and welcoming, and identifies three enablers for their success - people, technology and community. The framework for the development and implementation of interventions at stations continues to evolve, and the completion of a Station Sustainability Framework, sponsored by RSSB, has been a further significant activity.
  • Sustainable Development Steering Group – endorsed the Rail Industry Sustainable Development Principles, which define the strategic vision of a sustainable industry, with the objective that they are embedded in all industry organisations, activities and operations.
  • Passenger Services Strategy Group – provides an in-depth review of common issues around both recent and future franchising competitions
  • Freight Group – provides strategic direction to the rail freight sector, whilst promoting its benefits to the UK economy

The industry’s health and safety strategy – Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railways: a Strategy for Working Together – describes how the industry will work together over the next decade through a collaborative approach to industry safety management. The strategy was developed through collaboration with industry (facilitated by Network Rail and RSSB), agreed at the Industry Health and Safety Meeting. Its progress will be managed by the System Safety Risk Group.


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