The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its final determination on Network Rail’s spending plans for Control Period 6 (CP6).
Publication of this document determines what Network Rail should deliver in respect of its role in operating, maintaining and renewing the network in the next funding period, which starts in April 2019 and runs to 2024.
The ORR called for greater spending on safety and reliability in its draft determination; Network Rail has responded to this challenge, leading to the regulator to approve the plans – worth £35 billion – to improve Britain’s railways, reliability and timetabling.
As per the final determination, £16.6 billion will be spent on renewing the existing railway – a 17% increase on spending from CP5, while £7.7 billion will be invested on maintaining the railway.
Overall, this equates to £24.3 billion on maintenance and renewals of the railway, which will help passengers, freight and businesses by cutting delays caused by infrastructure failures.
Elsewhere, £3.4 billion will be spent on operations; £2.6 billion on support; and a further £4.3 on unspecified other areas.
The Performance Innovation Fund has increased from £10 million in the draft determination to £40 million in the final determination, in order to provide better support for the testing and implementation of new ideas from across the entire industry to improve punctuality.
Network Rail’s plans for significant funding and resource boosts for timetabling and planning functions have been approved by the ORR, with spending almost doubling from £145 million in CP5 to in excess of £270 million in CP6.
John Larkinson, Chief Executive at the ORR – who has previously spoken to Business Britain about the Periodic Review process – explained the focus of these plans.
He said: “These plans are focused on improving performance for passengers and freight operators by getting the basics right – ensuring that the railway is properly maintained and renewed, and on improving the daily operation of the railway.
“There is no time to lose; Network Rail and, in particular, the routes and system operator must make sure they are ready to deliver from day one of the new control period.”