The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its annual assessment of Network Rail’s performance, and concluded more needs to be done in preparation for Control Period 6 (CP6).
Responsible for regulating performance of Network Rail – the owner and operator of the majority of railways in England and Wales – the ORR has already published its Periodic Review 2018 (PR18) in response to the Strategic Business Plan set out by Network Rail which covers investment in CP6.
During this five-year period which starts on 1 April 2019, Network Rail has committed to an investment never seen on the country’s railways in order to provide the upgrades needed to cope with the increase in usage of the railways.
In its annual assessment of Network Rail’s performance in England and Wales, the ORR has called for greater preparation of the routes that will be upgraded; in particular, there is a feeling network access needs to be booked for planned work.
On the subject of safety, while the record on Britain’s railways is good, the ORR want to see risk management best practice adopted across all routes to ensure consistency.
The regulator’s annual assessment also makes it clear that the deferral of £441 million of work to renew the railway in 2017-18 must be caught up with my the start of the next Control Period. This, the ORR says, is “essential” to the network’s future reliability and the business plans already set out.
Joanna Whittington is the ORR’s Chief Executive. She says “significant improvement” is needed to tackle efficiency.
“Passengers and freight customers rely on Network Rail to deliver high quality service every day. Our assessment shows that it is delivering well on safety, but a significant improvement is required to make it more efficient and to address the very poor levels of performance which many passengers are currently experiencing.
“Network Rail’s route plans for the next five years are an opportunity for a step change in efficient delivery, but that can only happen if all the routes are prepared to hit the ground running from day one.
“At the moment it is clear more needs to be done to ensure this is the case.”