Changes to charges and incentives - Consultations

Variable usage charge and infrastructure cost charge - update

As part of the 2018 periodic review (PR18), we have published a letter providing an update on our work on the variable usage charge and infrastructure cost charges. In particular, the letter outlines that:

  • the draft determination (to be published in June 2018) will include a proposal to cap/phase in the variable usage charge (VUC) for freight and charter services over for a time limited period;
  • we are considering whether such a proposal is appropriate for open access passenger operators; and
  • we have asked Network Rail to cancel publication of its ‘draft CP6 price list’, consistent with its SBP, scheduled for April 2018. A price list reflecting our proposed approach to capping / phasing-in will be published by Network Rail following publication of the draft determination.

The letter also provides an update on the ongoing development of our infrastructure cost charging (ICC) approach, including two decisions we have taken in relation to proposals to be included for consultation as part of the draft determination.

Charges and contractual incentives - PR18 update
Published: 13 April 2018

Letters from Department for Transport and Transport Scotland regarding the variable usage charge are published below:

Department for Transport letter

Transport Scotland letter 

Working papers - volume incentive and collaborative working

Date published: 30 November 2018
Closing date: 25 January 2018

As part of the 2018 periodic review (PR18) of Network Rail, we are reviewing a number of charges and incentives.

We published a high-level update on our charges and incentives work, alongside two working papers setting out initial views on the development of the volume incentive in CP6, and on strengthening the incentives for collaborative working between operators and Network Rail.

Update on charges and incentives cover letter
Working paper 6: The volume incentive
Working paper 7: Collaborative working on the rail network

Consultation on charges recovering fixed network costs

Date published: 28 September 2017
Closing date: 30 November 2017

As part of the 2018 periodic review (PR18) of Network Rail, we are reviewing the way in which the charges operators pay to access the rail network are calculated.

We have decided to prioritise reforms to charges that recover some of the fixed costs of running the rail network, i.e. those costs that do not vary with use in the short term.

In our June 2017 charges and incentives conclusions letter, we confirmed that we would continue to work towards levying charges to recover fixed network costs on all operators, subject to a market-can-bear test.

The purpose of this consultation is to continue progress on developing our approach to levying these charges, which we have called infrastructure cost charges. This approach involves identifying a number of different market segments and then assessing the extent to which each segment can bear infrastructure cost charges. We are setting out emerging proposals on the market segmentation for freight and passenger services, and an initial view on the ability to bear infrastructure cost charge for the freight market segments we have defined, based on technical analysis undertaken by our consultants. We are also setting out proposals around the approach to levying infrastructure cost charges on passenger operators.

Consultation documents

PR18 consultation on charges recovering fixed network costs

Draft impact assessment of units of traffic for levying infrastructure cost charges on open access operators

Draft impact assessment on approach for levying infrastructure cost charges on franchised passenger operators

Response pro-forma for consultation on charges recovering fixed network costs

Additional documents

In addition to the above consultation documents, we commissioned CEPA and Systra to produce analysis on the market segmentation and ability to bear mark-ups for different types of freight and passenger rail services. Both documents are available.

Market-can-bear analysis: Freight services, report by CEPA, published 9 October 2017

Market-can-bear analysis: Passenger services, report by CEPA and Systra, revised version published 16 November 2017

For other information on upcoming PR18 publications, please see our PR18 timetable.

PR18 charges & incentives impacts model

In our June 2017 conclusions to our consultation on charges and incentives, we committed to publishing an explanatory note introducing the model we have developed to assess the financial impact on train operators of changes in charges and incentives in PR18. This note is set out below. While we are continuing to refine and improve the model, we are making available a version of the current model. Our intention in doing so is to provide transparency on the limitations of the model and, reflecting this, the types of additional information that would be useful for stakeholders to share with us to supplement the evidence that the model will provide.

Please read the explanatory note before looking at the model as this sets out the scope and limitations of the model. For example, as the input data used in this analysis is not publicly available, this version of the model uses only dummy data. The link to the July 2017 version of the model is in the note.

Explanatory note introducing the PR18 charges and incentives impacts model
July 2017

Conclusions on changes to charges and contractual incentives

Date published: 15 December 2016
Consultation closing date: 9 March 2017
Conclusions published: 29 June 2017

In December 2016, we published a consultation on changes to charges and contractual incentives. This built on previous work undertaken as part of the 2018 periodic review (PR18) of Network Rail’s outputs and funding – for example, our December 2015 consultation and November 2015 stakeholder letter on Schedules 4 and 8.

We received 37 responses from a range of stakeholders. We are grateful to all those who responded. The responses are redacted where appropriate and are available (see the link below).

Following careful review of stakeholder responses, we have made our conclusions to the consultation. Where appropriate we have also updated the supporting documents that accompanied the proposals in our December 2016 consultation, to take account of stakeholder comments. Both our conclusions and these updated supporting documents are available below. The conclusions document contains an annex outlining next steps, including details of further consultations in autumn 2017.

Conclusions documents

Conclusions on consultation on charges and contractual incentives
Published 29 June 2017

Responses to PR18 consultation on changes to charges and contractual incentives
Published 29 June 2017

Please see the drop down menus below for the impact assessments and supporting documents to the consultation and conclusions.

Consultation document

Improving incentives on Network Rail and train operators: a consultation on changes to charges and contractual incentives
Published 15 December 2016

Documents supporting conclusions

Final impact assessments

Schedule 4 supporting documents

Consultation and initial supporting documents

We set out below the material that we published at the time of consultation. This includes the consultation document and supporting materials. Where appropriate, these supporting documents have been updated or finalised and are published above.


Improving incentives on Network Rail and train operators: a consultation on changes to charges and contractual incentives
Published 15 December 2016


Draft impact assessments:

Initial thinking and proposals:

Stakeholder events

In February 2017, we held two stakeholder events in London and Glasgow to help support attendees in the developing their responses to this consultation. Slides used at these stakeholder events are available.

Charges and contractual incentives stakeholder presentation slides - February 2017