Network Rail commits to plans for Britain's railways 2014-19

10 February 2014

Network Rail has committed to deliver plans for a safer, higher performing and more efficient railway between 2014 and 2019, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) confirmed today.

As part of the multi-billion pound plan for Britain's railways, initially published in October 2013, Network Rail will bring down the costs of running the railways by 20%, while delivering nine out of ten trains on time on regional, London and South East and Scottish routes, and improved reliability for long distance passenger services.

Network Rail will also improve standards of infrastructure management, network resilience, and safety for passengers and railway workers. Over the next five years Network Rail will spend more than £38bn on maintaining, renewing and improving the rail network, which includes the delivery of a programme of enhancements worth more than £12bn.

These are challenges for the whole rail industry, not just Network Rail. Stretching targets and new incentives will get the industry working closer together for the communities they serve. The plans will be delivered from April 2014.

ORR Chief Executive Richard Price said:

Network Rail has committed to the challenge of delivering exciting plans for Britain's railways between 2014 and 2019. This new phase will see Network Rail enhance safety, increase capacity, and improve the performance and resilience of the rail network. Service standards will get better, as stations up and down the country are modernised and lines are electrified. Alongside this work, the company will also deliver more, pound-for-pound, than ever before, as it utilises new technology and better ways of working.
We welcome Network Rail's recognition that it will need to do things differently to fully deliver. This is a fresh start for the company and an opportunity - supported by significant levels of funding by governments and passengers, and working with the rest of the industry - to learn lessons and build on successes from the past. Meeting these challenges will be tough, particularly in the early years for punctuality in England and Wales because of recent performance levels. We will focus on ensuring the company, working with governments and the rest of the sector, delivers its plans to achieve long-term and sustainable improvements for customers and taxpayers.

Notes to editors

  1. ORR is the independent safety and economic regulator for Great Britain's railways. Follow ORR on Twitter @railregulation.
  2. Please read ORR's Final Determination and summary overviews.
  3. In March 2014, Network Rail will publish its delivery plan for 2014-2019.
  4. Network Rail's performance will be assessed against regulated targets set by ORR to cover all areas of performance between 2014-2019. New targets will be introduced for Network Rail's asset management, particularly focusing on how it manages, maintains and renews the rail network. Better asset management will allow the company to move from a 'find and fix' approach to maintenance to a 'predict and prevent' way of working, helping to boost capacity and improve performance on the network. The regulator will also put additional checks in place to monitor the company's progress on making the network more resilient to bad weather and climate change. 
  5. ORR published the plans for Britain's railways on 31 October 2014. Network Rail had until 7 February 2014 to object to the plans. The company did not raise an objection.