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ORR publish recommendations to avoid future timetable disruption

ORR publish recommendations to avoid future timetable disruption

The rail regulator has published its final report that details the timetable recommendations for the rail franchises so that the widespread disruption of services are not repeated.

In addition, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) say that Network Rail must improve its own timetabling process.

In its interim inquiry, the ORR found that poor communication added to difficulties of passengers, whose needs were put behind engineering and planning concerns throughout the planning stages.

In the phase 2 final report published, the regulator has recommended that this pattern is changed and instead, passenger needs are prioritised and put right at the heart of key decisions for major rail projects.

The industry must also work together to improve the way in which information is provided to passengers.

In a series of recommendations set out to ensure timetable disruption isn’t repeated, the ORR has called for clearer scope for industry boards to oversee major network change, which will ensure greater scrutiny of interdependencies involving new timetables, infrastructure, rolling stock and franchises.

Independent, system-wide advice and auditing should be introduced to spot and address problems before passengers are affected; and ‘optimum bias’ should be addressed by learning from examples of best practice in other sectors when delivering projects on time and to budget.

Professor Stephen Glaister, ORR and Inquiry Chairman, said: “Passengers were let down by the rail industry on 20 May and the weeks that followed. We found systemic failures that needed to be resolved in order to reduce the possibility that passengers have to endure these conditions again.

“Our recommendations will now mean that in every project, impact on passengers will be a central consideration – as it should always be.

“We are pleased with the improvements that have been made so far and expect our recommendations, which can be implemented immediately, to bring more benefits.”

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