ORR publishes latest data on Network Rail’s performance in Scotland between April-October 2014

20 November 2014

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) today published the latest Network Rail performance data and analysis for Scotland covering April-October 2014.

The report highlights that train service performance is slightly lower than the level expected. The regulator's evidence also suggests that the quality of data that Network Rail relies upon to plan and manage works on Britain's railways is in places unreliable, and that this may be hindering its efforts to meet the targets it is funded for.

The Network Rail Monitor covers its performance in the first seven months of the new funding period that began in April 2014 in areas such as punctuality, asset management, enhancement projects delivery, and finance and efficiency. The report shows:

  • While the condition of the track in Scotland is sufficient to allow safe operation of the network, standards have declined in recent years. ORR has taken enforcement action to ensure improvement and Network Rail is implementing a 24 point plan to improve track risk management and reduce the number of repeat twist faults.
  • Overall punctuality performance is currently 91.4%, 0.2 percentage points short of the levels expected at this point.
  • In Scotland, Network Rail is almost on target against its two-year performance recovery plan. However, it reported delivering less work than planned in both maintaining and renewing the network. There is a lack of reliable data on bridges, structures and earthworks as well as volumes of work being delivered. This is having an adverse impact on Network Rail's ability to work effectively.
  • Network Rail has not made the expected progress in the early stages of some enhancement projects in Scotland – such as the electrification programme for Rutherglen and Coatbridge; and the Motherwell Area stabling project. The Borders railway project is progressing well.
  • Network Rail has underspent its budget by £4m in the year to date and forecasts an overspend by £5m compared to the regulator's estimates for 2014-15.

ORR chief executive Richard Price said:

Network Rail and the Scottish rail industry did well to meet the challenges from increased passenger numbers during major events such as the Commonwealth Games, however, train punctuality has dipped recently. ORR is now focusing on indicators that will tell us more about Network Rail's future performance trajectory. This enables us to predict whether Network Rail's works will put matters right for passengers. 

The regulator has concerns about the reliability of some of the information Network Rail depends upon to take decisions about how to achieve and sustain high levels of punctuality and financial performance. Network Rail has made progress in some of these areas, but not in all of them. Without up-to-date knowledge, Network Rail will not have sufficient understanding of how and why its assets fail and its maintenance approach will remain reactive – leading to inefficiencies and hindering its efforts to improve punctuality. The new management at the company has made it clear that it shares our concerns and has committed to address these issues."

Notes to editors

  1. ORR is the independent safety and economic regulator for Great Britain's railways. Follow ORR on Twitter @railregulation.
  2. Infographic explaining what Network Rail needs to deliver by 2019: https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/15247/orr-cp5-output-framework.pdf
  3. The Network Rail Monitor for Scotland can be downloaded here: https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/15231/network-rail-monitor-scotland-2014-15-q1.pdf
  4. For the England and Wales Monitor visit: https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/15230/network-rail-monitor-2014-15-q1.pdf
  5. 5. ORR expects the company to underperform the regulatory financial performance measure by around £5m in 2014-15.