Rail operator Stagecoach is teaming up with infrastructure firm Network Rail to create a joint management team that will be responsible for both train and tracks on routes to the south-west of England.
The joint effort is a first for the rail industry and would deliver a better service for passengers and a more efficient, lower-cost railway, Stagecoach said.
The improvements on the line operated by Stagecoach's South Western Trains (SSWT) would come through "more collaborative working, better decision-making and fully aligned incentives", the operator said.
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The alliance will affect trains on the Wessex route operating out of London Waterloo and will run until February 2017, the expiry date of the SSWT franchise agreement.
Sir Brian Souter, Chief Executive of Stagecoach, said the new model of working was an opportunity to deliver change that would benefit both passengers and taxpayers and help grow the railway.
"Safety will continue to be our top priority and will remain at the core of the way we run the railway," he said.
"In addition, by working more closely with Network Rail than ever before, and with aligned incentives, we can deliver a more customer-focused and more efficient railway for the long-term."
David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said the plan marked a "new phase in the evolution of Network Rail".
"We continue to push decision making away from the centre, empowering our front-line managers to run the railway more effectively, and forging closer working relationships with our customers, the train operators," he said.
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