Responding to the King’s Speech, Rail Partners’ chief executive, Andy Bagnall, said:

‘The recommitment to establishing Great British Railways with the publication of a draft bill is a step forward, but it is a missed opportunity to not actually legislate in this Parliament.

‘The rail industry has been awaiting progress on reform since the Williams Review started over five years ago, culminating in the Plan for Rail being published in 2021. Delivering that plan remains the best foundation to build a better railway for Britain, and not seizing the moment now means continuing uncertainty until after the next General Election.

‘It is now even more urgent for government and industry to redouble efforts to deliver improvements for passengers and freight customers, as well as taxpayers, that can be taken forward without legislation, such as allowing operators more freedom to attract passengers back to rail and setting an ambitious target for growth of rail freight.’