In the autumn of 2011 the Office of Rail Regulation [ORR] ran a consultation on the potential for increased on-rail competition. The consultation document and the academic paper accompanying it were manifestly supportive of promoting more competition, ie. more open access. The responses however were more mixed: the only unequivocal support came from two organisations with a direct interest, while other passenger operators, local governments and the freight industry expressed considerable reservations. The Department for Transport made very clear its disquiet, thereby highlighting the absurdity of the overlapping functions (it estimates that open access increases the net cost of the railway by £30m/year).
PTN made a comprehensive submission, looking at on-rail competition from every aspect and drawing attention to some overlooked disadvantages of open access.
The ORR documents and the responses can be found at
PTN's submission: ORR_competition_consultation_PTN.doc .