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Conservatives launch new rail review

The Conservative Party has today launched a rail review aimed at tackling overcrowding and high fares on the railways.

Fears of worsening overcrowding due to growing passenger numbers prompted the review.

More than a third more people are expected to use the railways between now and 2014 - but no increase in capacity on the railways is expected, say the Conservatives.

In particular the review will focus on securing a much closer integration of the organisations which run track and train with a view to securing faster decision making and new investment in projects which can ease overcrowding.

In a speech today, shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling will say: 'We don't think it is realistic to keep expecting passengers to pay more and more to travel on trains that will be more and more overcrowded. And people won't leave their car at home if that is the alternative. Something has to change. We think that an important part of the problem lies in the structure of the industry that exists today. We think, with hindsight, that the complete separation of track and train into separate businesses at the time of privatisation was not right for our railways.

'We think that the separation has helped push up the cost of running the railways - and hence fares - and has slowed decisions about capacity improvements. Too many people and organisations are now involved in getting things done - so nothing happens.'