Office of Rail and Road Update - July 2019

Welcome to our July Newsletter.

July is a significant month in terms of ORR publications. It sees us issue several of our key periodic documents reporting on our monitoring of the companies we oversee.

This week we published Measuring Up, our annual report looking at how the rail industry is delivering for passengers in the areas of accessibility, complaints, compensation, passenger information and ticket retailing.  On the same day we published the Chief Inspector’s annual report on health and safety performance on the railways in 2018-19.

Today we publish our Network Rail Monitor, setting out our view on Network Rail’s performance in delivering its obligations to its customers and funders in the final six months of 2018-19 (the end of control period 5).  Also released today was our annual assessment of Highways England’s performance for 2018-19.

As you may be aware, we have been working for a number of months on our submission to the Williams Review into the structure of the rail industry and the way passenger rail services are delivered. Keith Williams spoke at an event in Bradford earlier this week, where he outlined his emerging thinking and where he specifically recognised the value of our work to that of the Review. You can find more detail on our submission on our website here, covering reforms to passenger compensation and accessibility.

All of our reports are published on our website, and you can also get updates via our twitter account @railandroad.

John Larkinson
Chief Executive

Top stories

Timetabling process – Lessons learnt since May 2018

It is a year since the failed implementation of the May 2018 timetable. A year on, the timetable for May 2019 has been delivered without disruption, realising important benefits for passengers. It is therefore a good time to review the progress that has been made in improving the timetable process and acting on lessons learnt.

In June, John Larkinson wrote to Andrew Haines, CEO of Network Rail, giving ORR’s reflections on these improvements and noting where further work is required, including in relation to addressing risks for the December 2019 timetable change. You can read it here.

ORR annual report

On 20 June we laid our 2018-19 Annual Report before Parliament, a copy of which can be viewed here. The report summarises the key activities and events of the reporting year against the framework of objectives set out in our business plan.

Statistical releases

In June we published a number of statistical releases including:

  • 2018-19 factsheet Rail passenger assists and bookings
  • 2018-19 factsheet Rail delay compensation claims
  • Q4 Passenger Rail Service Complaints 2018-19
  • Q4 Passenger rail usageQ4 Freight rail usage

Details of these and the dates of all of our statistical releases can be found here.

ORR Blogs – Keeping Freight straight

Rail freight is vital to our economy and plays a key (but often overlooked) role in our everyday lives. It’s our job as the regulator to ensure the rail market for freight operators is both competitive and fair. Read more about our role in regulating competition in this blog from two of our senior competition managers, Beth Tasker and Lisa Thurston.

ORR Blogs – On the right track: Open access explained

Open access operators run rail services without subsidy, providing benefits to passengers from the competition that they provide to other operators. One of our statutory duties is to decide whether to approve access rights for open access operators to run these services.

David Reed, Senior Executive, Access and Licensing, discusses our role in his blog here.

Ian ProsserSafety

ORR has safety as a top priority, and holds the industry to account for breaches of health and safety legislation. We have recently brought two successful prosecutions relating to a fatality on the Gatwick Express in August 2016, and after a rail worker was injured in fall in November 2016.