Page 2: Stakeholders and infrastructure
This is an important starting point. Stakeholder groups are collections of individuals and organisations that are involved in and influenced by the actions of an organisation. Typical stakeholders in private sector organisations include:
- shareholders (people who own shares in Railtrack)
- employees (over 1,100 work for Railtrack)
- customers (e.g. the passenger train operating companies and freight operators)
- suppliers (e.g. track renewal companies)
- the Railway Regulator (who acts on behalf of Government and people to ensure that Railtrack operates in a proper and efficient way).
Creating an efficient railway infrastructure is of major importance to each group of stakeholders. An organisation like Railtrack cannot simply operate to maximise profits. It must respond to the needs and demands of its stakeholders. For example, Railtrack makes sure that its stations have suitable disability access. Another example of stakeholder concern is shown by the way in which Railtrack has a formal employee review process which looks after the training and development needs of its employees. A key criterion for any investment decision, therefore, should be that adequate attention is given to the range of key stakeholders.
The integration of transport systems has a high priority on the agenda for the development of modern economies. Whilst it makes economic sense for providers of transport services to compete against each other, it is also essential that the transport systems are integrated. For example, children going to school need to be able to use transport links which are convenient, cheap, safe and reliable. Their journey may involve several modes of transport - getting the bus to the station and then taking the train to school – and therefore efficient links between bus services, rail and roads are vital.
Wise investment in railways involves working closely with other providers of transport to provide a high quality service. Railtrack is strongly behind the Government’s decision to develop an integrated transport policy. A recent example is the Heathrow Express. This service, operated by BAA, runs from Paddington to Heathrow Airport and was launched in January 1998.
Another system which is key to developing integrated local transport plans is the Light Rapid Transit System (LRT). LRT has a broad definition which includes variants from almost heavy rail systems through to very lightweight guided vehicles. One of the benefits of LRT is that it is cheaper to construct than conventional heavy rail. Many LRT systems involve an element of on-street running as well as dedicated infrastructure for part of their operation.
Modern train protection systems can allow joint running with heavy rail on the same track. Railtrack currently has systems under construction in the West Midlands and Croydon. In addition, Railtrack has been involved in studies of variants of LRT in a number of cities including Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff, Portsmouth and Nottingham, as well as the extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro system.