The Department for Transport (DfT) believes the draft determination set out by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) will address the government’s priorities for the Control Period 6 (CP6) investment on the railways.
Published earlier in the summer, the draft determination – also known as the ORR’s Periodic Review 2018 (PR18) – is a direct response to the Strategic Business Plan of Network Rail, which outlined the record levels of investment to be spent on the railway in 2019 – 2024.
Almost £50 billion will be spent, and the ORR’s draft determination reveals that, although the route-based plans are much better than in the previous control period, more spending can be set out in delivering renewal work and safety-related infrastructure, so that both reliability and health & safety are improved in the next five years.
The final determination will be published in October but the DfT believe that the ORR’s recommendations fit the government’s own plans.
In a letter to the ORR’s John Larkinson, Dan Moore, Deputy Director of Rail Markets Strategy for the DfT, said: “We are also particularly pleased by the extent to which your consultations address the government’s policy priorities for CP6.”
In particular, the government is pleased that there is a continuing drive to achieve meaningful route diversion within Network Rail – something the ORR has previously said will improve efficiency of the various railways in the country.
Elsewhere, the DfT believes “vital” emphasis should continue to be placed on driving progress on the good start made to promote closer working relationships between Network Rail and customers; ensure an accountable system operator function with clear responsibilities that have the capability and culture to deliver effectively; and ensure that regulatory framework will support continued transformation of Network Rail across CP6, including steps to increase contestability of other functions.
In conclusion, the DfT is encouraged that the ORR has “identified the need to ensure Network Rail’s scorecard, framework agreement and Licence align to support effective measurement of performance and management of reward.”