Rail Regulator supports drive to more devolved decision making

17 November 2016

The Office of Rail and Road has today confirmed in its initial consultation on the 2018 Periodic Review (PR18), that its regulatory approach will support a greater focus by Network Rail on working with train operators at route level, to deliver more for passengers and freight customers.

A key change will see the regulator assess and monitor Network Rail’s plans at a route rather solely than national level. This builds on the changes the company is making to devolve more responsibility to its operational routes. Comparison between routes will strengthen the incentives on them to improve performance and become more efficient. Network Rail’s routes will engage closely with stakeholders, so that these plans reflect their views.

There will be a need for strong national coordination in decisions that affect the whole railway system. The regulator has therefore also confirmed how it will support and encourage Network Rail’s role, as the system operator, in delivering improved timetabling, better use of the network and more effective analysis to support long-term planning. These are particularly important considerations at a time of continued growth in rail use and can support improvements in the reliability of passenger and freight services.

John Larkinson, Director of Railway Markets & Economics, Office of Rail and Road said:

Today’s announcement represents a step change in our approach to regulating Network Rail. We expect these changes to support its plans to work more closely with train companies to deliver on the priorities of those served by each route.

It is now for Network Rail to engage with operators and a wide range of stakeholders so that its plans reflect the needs of passengers, freight customers and businesses across the country.

These changes are set out in the periodic review, known as PR18, which plays a central role in determining what Network Rail is expected to deliver between 2019 and 2024. This sits alongside decisions by Governments on what they want the railway to deliver and the funding they will provide to support this.

Notes to editors:

  1. Initial conclusions document: http://www.orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/23196/pr18-initial-consultation-conclusions-letter.pdf
  2. Browse our website to find out more about PR18 and subscribe to our PR18 email alerts service to receive updates and news.
  3. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is the UK’s rail regulator and highways monitor for England. ORR protects the interests of rail and road users; improving the safety, value and performance of railways and roads, today and in the future. Follow us @railandroad.