ORR publishes assessment of Network Rail’s performance in 2012-13

7 June 2013

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has today published its assessment of Network Rail's performance in 2012-13, the fourth year of its current five year funding period.

The report highlights the continued growth of Britain's railways over the past year as the number of passenger journeys increased by 4%, the amount of freight carried on the railways rose by 3%, and national passenger satisfaction reached a record-high level of 85%. In support of these successes, Network Rail's key achievements include:

  • Network Rail achieved real successes in meeting the challenges of the 2012 London Olympics. Working closely with train operators, the company delivered excellent services and high standards of information for passengers.
  • Strong performance in Scotland. Effective planning and coordination between Network Rail and train operators enabled the railways to withstand harsh weather conditions well, and led to a strong improvement in train performance. Punctuality for passenger services in Scotland reached 93%, 2.3 percentage points up over the year and 1.1 percentage points ahead of target.
  • Network Rail remains on course to deliver the substantial programme of enhancements to Britain's rail network. Over the past year, the company has completed extensions to the East London line, electrified the Paisley Canal branch line and lengthened platforms to increase capacity on the East Coast main line.

ORR's analysis of Network Rail's performance in 2012-13 also shows that there remain significant areas where Network Rail's performance falls short of what it was funded to deliver:

  • Network Rail missed all of its targets for the punctuality of passenger services in England and Wales in 2012-13. ORR is investigating whether Network Rail did everything reasonably practicable to deliver punctuality targets for passenger services in the long distance and London and the South East sectors. The regulator has already specified a financial penalty should Network Rail miss its punctuality commitments for long distance passenger services at the end of March 2014.
  • The reliability of information Network Rail holds on the condition of its tracks, bridges and other assets is not as good as it should be. ORR has seen some improvements, but there remains a good deal of work ahead for the company to undertake its works as efficiently as possible. ORR is considering introducing regulated targets to increase the pace of improvements.
  • There is a backlog of maintenance work on some routes which is contributing to poor track quality on parts of the network.

ORR Chief Executive Richard Price said:

Network Rail has contributed a lot to the successes of the railways over the past year. With the wider rail industry, the company delivered excellent levels of performance under the global spotlight of the 2012 London Olympics. It has also shown it can deliver these high standards consistently throughout the year in Scotland, where passengers have enjoyed excellent levels of punctuality.
However, levels of punctuality for passenger services in England and Wales remain below what Network Rail has been funded to achieve. The company has some catching-up to do to get itself back on course by the time new and, in some areas, more stretching performance targets are introduced for its next funding period between 2014-19.

Notes to editors

  1. Read the England & Wales and Scotland Network Rail Monitors in full.
  2. Punctuality targets are measured on a public performance measure basis (PPM). PPM is a measure of the percentage of trains arriving at their final destination within ten minutes of the advertised time for long distance trains, and within five minutes for London and South East services.
  3. Punctuality for passenger services in the long distance sector was 87.0% PPM, 2.0 percentage points down over the year and 4.5 percentage points behind the regulatory target for the year. To put this in context, this means 70,500 long distance train services were either cancelled or more than 10 minutes late over the year.
  4. Under an order made by ORR, if Network Rail fails to deliver its 2013-14 punctuality target for long distances services (92% PPM) it faces a substantial financial penalty. The size of any financial penalty will reflect the extent of Network Rail's failure to meet the commitment, increasing by £1.5 million per 0.1 percentage point it drops below the target.
  5. Punctuality for passenger services in the London and south east sector was 91.0% PPM, 0.7 percentage points down over the year and 1.7 percentage points behind the regulatory target for the year. To put this in context, this means 361,000 London and south east train services were either cancelled or more than 5 minutes late over the year.
  6. ORR has also published its letter to Network Rail's remuneration committee which sets out its annual assessment of Network Rail's performance pdf icon PDF, 2,530 Kb
  7. The regulator's draft determinations for the next funding period will be announced on 12 June. Read more information about PR13
  8. Any underperformance from Network Rail in its current funding period (control period 4) will not result in ORR adjusting downwards targets for the 2014-19 funding period (control period 5).
  9. ORR will publish its annual health and safety report in summer 2013, and its annual financial and efficiency assessment in autumn 2013.