The Railway Industry association (RIA) is ‘encouraged’ by the details of the final determination from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which has approved Network Rail’s spending plans for Control Period 6 (CP6).
Chief Executive, Darren Caplan, is particularly pleased with the ORR’s plans to end ‘boom and bust’ funding in the industry – something the RIA criticised the Budget for failing to address – which will be of great benefit to SMEs in particular.
CP6 is the next five-year spell of investment on the rail industry. Starting in April 2019, the period will see a record amount spent on renewals, maintenance and operations on the railways.
The ORR’s final determination includes changes so that greater spending on reliability has been allocated; a total of £24.3 billion will be spent on renewing and maintaining the existing railway – 17% more than in CP5.
And the RIA believes the concerns of industry stakeholders have been taken into account in spending plans for CP6.
Mr Caplan said: “The RIA welcomes the publication of the final determination and we are encouraged to see the ORR taking the concerns of the rail supply community onboard, particularly around ‘boom and bust’ funding.
“This impacts rail businesses’ ability to recruit and invest and jeopardises the ability of SMEs in the industry to survive.
“It also increases the cost of running the rail network by up to 30%, which is bad for taxpayers, passengers and freight users.”
An increase in R&D funding from to £245 million in CP6 has also been welcomed by the RIA, who say that it will create “new and innovative solutions to improve customer and freight services.”
The Association said, however, “it is vital that this additional funding is available for both infrastructure and rolling stock R&D, as the continued development of both is vital in achieving journey time and passenger benefits, as we build a world class railway.”