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SRA splits into three divisions

THE STRATEGIC Rail Authority is to be drastically restructured to ensure delivery of its Strategic Plan, said chairman Richard Bowker this week.

He is to split the organisation into three divisions, each responsible for a specific area of the plan. Bowker also wants to recruit five senior staff to spearhead implementation.

One department will be responsible for managing the rail network on a day to day basis and will be headed by a new chief operating officer.

The position, with a 'six figure salary' will be responsible for 'delivering today's railway within its structure' as well as managing the franchises.

A second department - a structural planning group - will keep the plan 'fresh' as Bowker puts it, ensuring it is ready to change and is fluid. It is looking to recruit a managing director of strategic planning to head the department, again on a six figure salary.

The department will be involved in 'mapping out where the industry will be in 25 years' time and finding routes to get there, ' said Bowker.

A third department will be responsible for taking major projects such as the East Coast Main Line from concept to construction stage with the SRA acting as client. Again, the SRA is looking to employ a departmental managing director on a six figure salary.

Bowker admits that the SRA has made mistakes in the past, but feels a shake-up and the introduction of new senior staff will help put the SRA at the centre of the drive to improve the railways.

Also being recruited are a finance director and a media director.

Main objectives

Short term - up to 2005

Establish Rail Academy

£400M of SRA money earmarked for early reliability improvements

Feasibility study of a national test track Medium term - 2005/10

Infrastructure improvements and new trains for West Coast and Virgin cross-country services

TransPennine line upgrade

Thameslink 2000 completion

Complete East London Line extension

Upgraded freight routes Long term - beyond 2010 lConstruction of new London to Scotland high speed line

Development of links between rail network and Heathrow, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports

Completion of London's CrossRail

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