Office of Rail and Road Update - January 2017

13 January 2017

Happy New Year to you all. Protecting the interests of rail and road users, now and in the future, is at the heart of what we do at ORR.

Joanna WhittingtonIn my end of year blog, I reflected on ORR’s good progress against our strategic objectives, which cover ORR’s remit of economic, safety, consumer and competition responsibilities on rail and our monitoring role of Highways England.

We have now started to set our priorities for 2017/18 and will be engaging passenger and road user representatives, industry and government throughout the process. Such input is a key part of defining ORR’s focus for the next twelve months, as well as delivering on those priorities. I look forward to working with many of you over the next year.

Joanna Whittington
Chief Executive

Top stories

Safety of Driver Only Operation

Liverpool Street stationMost of you will be aware of the current industrial dispute which has raised questions about Driver Only Operation (DOO). We recently carried out a review of GTR-Southern Railway’s proposed methods for dispatching trains using DOO. Our report concluded that with suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff in place, it is a safe method of working. We have made recommendations for further improvements and will continue our inspections and work to ensure the industry updates best-practice procedures, training and equipment in relation to the safe dispatch of trains.

More work to do on passenger compensation

Train ticketOur latest rail compensation report notes train companies’ progress through 2016 in improving how passengers can claim compensation, but calls for train operators to do more. In particular, train operators need to ensure that passengers are able to claim compensation in a range of ways. We continue to keep a focus on this area.

Future of industry charging and contractual incentives

TrainAs part of the 2018 Periodic Review (PR18) we’re consulting on what the future structure of the charges levied by Network Rail on train operators, and the contractual incentives to encourage Network Rail and train operators to work together. We recently concluded our PR18 work will focus on route-level regulation and a new approach to regulating Network Rail’s national system operator. Therefore, our proposals for charges and incentives target those areas where there is a strong case for reform or where there are opportunities for simplifying the current system.

Our online consultation is currently live and ends on 9 March.