THE ASSOCIATION OF TRAIN OPERATING COMPANIES (ATOC) is urging the government to set up a National Stations Trust to improve and maintain Britain's dilapidated rail stations.
Funded from train company franchise fees, the independent National Stations Trust - run on the same lines as the better known National Trust - would then allocate money for station improvements.
Association chairman Tom Smith also wants his member companies to be allowed to repair, maintain and improve stations along the routes they operate. That could save Network Rail more than £250 million, Smith said, which could be added to the Trust's fund. "We need to move to a situation where train companies become responsible for the whole station and its upkeep," the ATOC boss claimed.
"As private sector operators we have a real incentive to respond to passengers' needs and would be able to do the job more efficiently than it is at the moment. "The current arrangements as to who owns and manages stations are too complex and leave train companies with little or no incentive or opportunity to invest."