Office of Rail and Road Update - March 2017
27 March 2017
Late last month the ORR Board headed to Cardiff, where we met some of you from Wales and Western England. At Newport Docks we heard about the challenges for rail freight and road access, and the implications for the planned M4 diversion.
We also visited the South Wales Traffic Management Centre and saw contrasts with the highways management approach in England. We were briefed by Arriva Trains Wales on passenger crowding at events at the Principality Stadium.
And we saw sites around Cardiff for the proposed Metro franchise with Transport for Wales, hearing from the Welsh Government how the competitive bidding process is being managed.
Further regional visits are planned in 2017.
ORR’s evidence at the Transport Select Committee
Joanna Whittington gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s recent hearing into passenger compensation. Members heard about ORR’s progress implementing our recommendations for delay and disruption compensation. Joanna explained that the greater transparency ORR has brought to the issue has translated directly to passenger benefits – for example, there is now clearer compensation detail on train operators’ websites. A video of the hearing is available online.
More about our action on improving compensation arrangements for passengers is on our website.
ORR explained progress on Customer Focused Regulation
Joanna Whittington briefed around a hundred invited guests at the recent Whitehall and Industry Group event on ORR’s approach to Customer Focused Regulation, explaining our principal role: to protect the interests of rail and road users.
Joanna explained how ORR is making good progress with the 2018 Periodic Review by listening to a wide range of stakeholders, and how Network Rail’s devolution to its Routes should provide key economic and user advantages. Joanna’s full speech is available.
French and British regulators call for increased transparency of Eurotunnel charges
Alongside the Autorité de Régulation des Activités Ferroviaires et Routières (“Arafer"), ORR is the responsible body for the regulation of the Channel Fixed Link. The Link is managed by Eurotunnel, and in our joint 2018 Network Statement and recent blog we called for Eurotunnel to explain how capacity and costs are fairly accounted to different users. Some of the freight operators, and the entire shuttle operation, are controlled by Eurotunnel and we want to ensure that the right conditions exist to allow its use to grow by existing and new users.
Highways Monitor at ConnectPlus M25 Community Conference
As a key road artery servicing London and the South East, maintenance and operation of both the M25 and its key arterial links is hugely important. It’s the responsibility of ConnectPlus Services on behalf of Highways England.
At their recent conference, Highways Director Peter Antolik outlined ORR’s role in holding Highways England to account for delivery of the current Road Investment Strategy (RIS) to 2020, and our advisory role on whether the second RIS is challenging and deliverable. Peter encouraged road users, contractors and M25 workers to get involved as the strategy is developed. More about ORR’s Highways Monitor role is on our website.