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This note describes the structure of the rail industry following privatisation by the Railways Act 1993. It is intended to give a factual account and only briefly touches on the issues involved in reaching decisions about the form of privatisation chosen or its shortcomings.


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  • This paper provides an overview of the current rail system, including how it is delivered and how it performed and was financed up until the spring of 2020 when the UK locked down in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. It explains the impact of the pandemic on services and funding and sets out reforms to rail passenger services (franchises) as a result of the pandemic. The final section discusses the Williams Rail Review, initiated in 2018 and yet to report publicly, setting out the emerging conclusions and key questions to be answered.