The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its final annual assessment of Network Rail during Control Period 5 (CP5).
During CP5 (2014-19), the ORR’s Network Rail Monitor revealed that the organisation overspent against its internal budget in every year.
This was put down to declining efficiency and higher payments to train companies in compensation to poor train performance.
The annual assessment also said overspend on enhancement projects, though this remain within Network Rail’s overall funding envelope.
The regulator has recently spoken to Transport Britain about the mistakes made in CP5 when looking forward to Control Period 6 (CP6); subsequently, Network Rail’s efficiency has been challenged by the ORR throughout the year, and even recently wrote to the organisation about concerns in its efficiency plans for CP6.
Progress in renewals and efficiency planning for 2019/20 has been recorded, though more needs to be done.
For 2018/19, the ORR found that the performance of Network Rail remained strong for the freight sector, with a reduction in delays recorded.
Elsewhere, infrastructure reliability improved over the last year – something that was positive during CP5 when compared to previous control periods.
Graham Richards, the Director of Planning and Performance at the ORR, summed up Network Rail’s performance during 2018/19, calling for recent positive action to be sustained.
“Network Rail’s performance in the past 12 months mirrored the previous years of CP5.
“On the key areas of passenger train performance and efficiency, we have been challenging Network Rail throughout the year and have seen some positive action. There needs to be continued focus for this improvement to be sustained.
“The new control period which started in April offers a fresh start, and our enhanced monitoring and where appropriate, enforcement, is designed to identify issues earlier.
“We have also changed our approach to monitoring each of Network Rail’s Regions, which will feature more prominently in future publications.”