Office of Rail and Road update - November 2016
10 November 2016
Welcome to ORR’s first monthly newsletter. We hope you find this brief snapshot of our activities informative and useful. Feedback is always welcome. And remember, you can keep up to date with us on Twitter @railandroad.
ORR recently welcomed three new non-executive directors to our Board, all on five year terms. David Franks, Anne Heal and Graham Mather were appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport following an open competition. Collectively, they bring significant experience in transport, the rail industry and network regulation and bring to eight the number of NEDs at ORR. Their appointment will support our work in protecting the interests of rail passengers and workers, freight customers and road users.
Congratulations also to ORR’s Graham Richards, who has been confirmed in his role as Director of Railway Policy and Planning.
Finally, our thoughts are with the people and families involved in the incident in Croydon yesterday on Tramlink. ORR has opened an investigation into the circumstances, under our health and safety powers.
Director of Communications
ORR Chief Executive Joanna Whittington recently addressed the UK Rail Industry Forum about PR18 - the next quinquennial review of Network Rail. In these ‘periodic reviews’, we hold Network Rail to account for delivering agreed outputs to train companies and assure value for money for the public purse, as well as creating incentives on users of the rail network.
Network Rail’s transition to a more devolved route structure provides a real opportunity for it to improve the way it is able to meet the needs of its freight customers, passengers and funders. In due course this will provide us, as regulator, with better information on which to set a price control. This will include stronger incentives to improve, through meaningful comparison at a route level. Read Joanna’s speech in full. PDF, 37 Kb
ORR highways director Peter Antolik spoke recently at ConnectPlus’s Roads Forum on the importance of working together to protect road worker and road user safety. Everyone present showed a keen desire to learn from each other and seek out best practice. The Forum showed particular interest in the opportunity to learn from the rail industry, including from ORR’s rail safety experts. ORR is taking this forward, helping to make connections across the sectors and share experience; for example, exploring how modelling used in the rail industry might be applied to roads. Read more.
ORR views breaches of railway safety very seriously. Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser took the decision to prosecute Network Rail for a breach which led to a fatality at a level crossing in Suffolk in 2011. Network Rail focuses much attention on improving health and safety on Britain’s railways, but in this case our view was the company had failed to act on the substantial evidence that pedestrians had poor visibility of trains when approaching the crossing, and were exposed to increased risk of being struck by a train.
This September, Ipswich Crown Court agreed and levied a £4 million fine on Network Rail, who had pleaded guilty. Network Rail are currently progressing plans to replace the crossing with a footbridge. ORR’s Annual Health and Safety Report flags the importance of attention to safety at level crossings as a priority.