The current arrangements for delivering rail services in England are complex and distributed across the public and private sectors, as we previously set out in our 2021 financial overview of the rail system in England. The Department for Transport (DfT) is responsible for setting the strategic direction for rail and, through its agencies and other bodies, delivers some elements such as rail infrastructure maintenance and enhancements.

However, recognising that the current arrangements were not working effectively, the government published its white paper on rail reform in May 2021. It identified key problems with the rail system and called for a ‘guiding mind’ to take responsibility. To deliver the reforms, the DfT established its Rail Transformation programme. This included plans to create a new body, Great British Railways, to be responsible for running the rail network.


Two years on from the white paper, and with some reforms beginning to be implemented, our report will examine whether DfT is setting up the Rail Transformation programme to deliver value-for-money. It will include consideration of progress and management of risks to delivering rail reform.

NAO Team

Director: Jonny Mood
Audit Manager: Martin Chong