Great British Railways are consulting on the Whole Industry Strategic Plan. The plan will be presented to Government and set the direction for Britain’s rail network for the next 5,10 and 30 years The newly created (recreated?) Great British Railway’s forward to the consultation states: “The government’s plans for rail include a commitment to develop a sector-wide, long-term strategy for rail: the Whole Industry Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan). The Strategic Plan, produced by GBR for Ministers, will be the first strategy of its kind, a thirty year high-level plan shaped by a set of strategic objectives that have been developed for the benefit of our passengers, freight users, taxpayers and staff, to support Britain’s nations, regions, and communities to achieve their goals, and to benefit the economy and the environment for the long term”.
Although not necessarily directed toward the UK tourism industry the consultation gives us a much-needed opportunity to question the traditional lack of priority given to “off peak” leisure as opposed to either freight or, in particular, peak Monday to Friday commuter travel. The impact of the 2020 – 21 pandemic its apparent radical impacts on ingrained work and home life patterns, combined with potential climate crisis stimulated changes to the future role of the private motor vehicle, current the prime mover for both work and especially leisure travel, gives justifiable cause for the tourism and leisure industries to claim a much higher degree of priority for their need in future. Arguable leisure travel is currently seen as a largely as convenient usage for the surplus capacity generated as an unavoidable by-product of servicing Monday to Friday peak commuter services. In future servicing tourism and leisure traffic may need to be viewed as a valid commercial activity in its own right?
Individual destination that are not as well served by the rail network as they might be, or some circumstances, not as well served as they once were, are urged to raise these concerns via this consultation. All destinations, including those currently well served by dint of their location are asked to argue for better recognition of the future importance of rail to tourism and leisure and of tourism and equally of tourism and leisure to the future fortunes of the rai industry, in a post pandemic, post traditional 5-day week, office and other establish workplace based economy.
The consolation can be accessed at: https://gbrtt.co.uk/call-for-evidence-launch-document/#Contributing-to-long-term-economic-growth