Office of Rail and Road update - December 2016

15 December 2016

Welcome to the second edition of our monthly stakeholder newsletter, as we keep you up to date with the latest news from the Office of Rail and Road.

Joanna WhittingtonAs regulator we look ahead and support future improvements to the railways for passengers and freight customers. The Secretary of State for Transport’s announcement last week detailed closer working for new franchises between Network Rail and the Train Operating Companies. We will discuss with government and industry how regulation can best support this.

My recent speech at the Future of Rail conference stressed the importance of creating the right incentives on Network Rail to deliver a better service. I also talked about the opportunity for NR to be closer to – and understand better – the needs of its customers through operational devolution. ORR now has dedicated route leads to support this. We are looking to carry out route by route monitoring in the future. You can read the full text of my address pdf icon PDF, 566 Kb.

For many working in the transport industry Christmas is very busy as big maintenance and engineering works are carried out across our road and rail network. Thank you to those working over the festive period and best wishes to everyone for 2017.

Joanna Whittington
Chief Executive

Top stories

ORR’s half year Monitor assessment of Network Rail

Graham RichardsOur latest six monthly assessment of Network Rail is also the halfway point in this five year funding period (CP5). Our analysis, led by Graham Richards and his team, shows Network Rail’s progress in key areas of safety and asset management. But more still needs to be done to tackle general underperformance so passenger delays are reduced and that financial underperformance does not contribute to operational challenges in the future. You can read the Monitor on our website.

Drive to more devolved decision making

John LarkinsonWe recently set out high level plans for regulating Network Rail in its next five year funding period, focusing much more on its route businesses. Our view is that assessing and comparing Network Rail’s plans at route level will strengthen the incentives on Network Rail to improve performance and become more efficient, delivering more for passengers and freight customers. It will also build on Network Rail’s aim to work more closely with train operators and increase the role of local funders.

You can read our conclusions to our initial consultation on the 2018 periodic review. Sign up for our regular updates on PR18.

ORR sets out proposed approach to the next Road Investment Strategy

ORR sets out proposed approach to the next Road Investment StrategyORR’s first major document on the second Roads Investment Strategy (RIS2) sets out how we will monitor and assess Highways England’s proposed investment and performance goals in the next road period from 2020 to 2025. Based on our monitoring experience, we will look for a strong evidence base and a robust framework. At the same time, we are publishing our first annual update with emerging findings from our benchmarking analysis of Highways England. This will be an important part in assessing whether the RIS2 package is challenging and deliverable.

You can read our approach to RIS2 and our 2016 Benchmarking progress report.

ORR’s Review of RSSB advocates new settlement with its members

ORR’s Review of RSSB advocates new settlement with its membersORR has recommended that Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) agrees a new settlement with its members, laying out mutual expectations and obligations in the conclusions to our quinquennial review of the safety body. The industry wide review group, led by ORR’s Johnny Schute OBE, concluded RSSB are important in the rail industry as an independent and impartial body. However there is scope for them to play a greater ‘thought leadership’ role. You can read the full review.