Office of Rail and Road Update - December 2017
19 December 2017
Welcome to ORR's December Newsletter.
2018 will see ORR enter the final stages of PR18, our five-yearly review of the financing of Network Rail. We are currently scrutinising the strategic business plans coming forward from Network Rail’s routes and System Operator function; our team is working to ensure that those business plans meet the challenges facing the network. Together, those plans will inform next summer’s draft determination for PR18, where we set out what Network Rail must deliver for passengers, freight customers and funders in the five years from 2019.
At the same time, we are working through our own strategic priorities; in the New Year we will engage with stakeholders on our business plan for 2018-19.
In the meantime, work doesn’t stop on the networks we regulate, with major engineering programmes planned on the rail network over the festive break. On Boxing Day, I will be taking a first-hand look at this, accompanying our safety inspectors on a visit to the Northern Line extension in Battersea.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on behalf of all at the ORR.
RAIB report into Sandilands Tram Accident
On 7 December, RAIB published its report into the tragic accident of November 2016. We welcome the publication of the report and have already started working with the tram industry towards implementing some of the recommendations. ORR inspectors’ investigation into the incident continues, working alongside the British Transport Police.
Monitoring Network Rail
On 4 December, we published our half-yearly monitor of Network Rail setting out our view of the company’s performance in delivering its obligations to customers and funders. Our report showed that the rail network continues to operate safely, but that performance remains mixed. We continue to engage directly with stakeholders to ensure our work reflects their experience. Our Director of Railway Markets and Economics, John Larkinson, recently spoke to Scottish stakeholders on Network Rail’s performance.
Rail Usage Statistics
ORR issues official national statistics on a range of rail issues, as part of our commitment to transparently reporting on the network’s performance. On 1 December, we released this year’s annual station usage stats; our team held a twitter chat to talk through the release, and we also launched a new interactive online facility for our most popular data.
As regulator we are accountable to Parliament, so we inform parliamentarians of our work. Recently we briefed MPs staff on our statistical work and how we regulate Network Rail and Highways England, and updated the All Party Parliamentary Group on Rail in the North on PR18 and the impact of route devolution.