Office of Rail and Road Update – October 2017

25 October 2017

Welcome to ORR's October Newsletter.

Joanna WhittingtonWith the days getting shorter and the Christmas period drawing ever-closer, autumn is well and truly here. This has been a busy period for ORR, having issued a series of important publications, which are set out below.

As ever, ORR staff have also been busy out in the field. On my part, I accompanied HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser to Liverpool’s Lime Street Station, where Network Rail have been carrying out improvements to signalling and adding more platforms. Such visits allow us to understand major pieces of work such as this first hand and appreciate the challenges involved in carrying them out.

Joanna Whittington
Chief Executive

Top stories

Proposals for reforms to charges

A key part of ORR’s 2018 periodic review (PR18) of Network Rail is setting the charges train operators pay to access the rail network. We are now consulting on proposals for charges to recover fixed network costs from all operators including ‘open access’ (i.e. non-franchised) operators, to the extent that they can bear such costs.

The consultation runs until 30 November, please let us know your thoughts.

Shaping a Rail Ombudsman

ORR is here to protect the interests of rail and road users, today and in the future and this includes monitoring how train companies handle passenger complaints. Marcus Clements, our Head of Consumer Policy, blogs more about how we work in this area and our involvement in the industry task force to develop a Rail Ombudsman to improve complaints handling.

You can read more and share your views in our consultation.

Safety on the London Underground

Our Inspectors regularly visit worksites on the London Underground to ensure the safety of those working on them and that their work meets the required standards. Peter Darling, one of our railway inspectors, reveals the challenging physical conditions people work under on these sites. He describes the essential equipment and precautions taken including why it is necessary to read a poem in a respirator.

Monitoring markets

We have started our review of the market for the supply of ticketing equipment and systems. More information is available here.

This is related to our work monitoring and reviewing markets; our guidance note provides further detail on how we intend to fulfil our responsibilities and use our powers. We also publish our prioritisation criteria, in order to help us focus our resource in a way that delivers most value from our interventions. You can read more in our guidance document.

Any questions?

If you have any questions on the work of ORR please contact