Office of Rail and Road Update - February 2019

Welcome to ORR's February Newsletter.

ORR’s approach to regulation is built on regular, close engagement and discussion with stakeholders across the rail and road industries, governments and customers.

Over the last month, we’ve engaged widely with stakeholders on our priorities for the coming twelve months.

At sessions in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Glasgow we set out our plans for carrying out our key functions while evolving how we hold Network Rail to account and deliver for passenger and freight customers.

Thank you to all those who participated in the sessions and contributed views. Additionally, our next Board meeting will be held in Manchester where we will be talking with local stakeholders.

We continue to engage with Keith Williams and his team working on the Rail Review, discussing how regulation can support a range of industry structures, and are working closely on the regulatory implications of options for the East Coast Partnership.

We’re also monitoring implementation of Network Rail’s 100 Day Plan, particularly in regard to their move to a new regional and route structure. Network Rail has engaged closely with us for some time on this and we now need to align their planned structure with the settlement set out in our final determination for CP6.

We also this month welcome the final outcome of the competition review of the Siemens/Alstom merger – the very significant competition concerns that were identified would have been a bad deal for passengers, freight companies and the taxpayer and ORR have been active in opposing the merger.

As mentioned in our business planning workshops, towards the end of the year ORR will be moving from our London office at Kemble street. We’re now in a position to confirm that our new offices will be at 25 Cabot Square, in Canary Wharf, London.

John Larkinson

Chief Executive


Top stories

Site visits to A14 works and Northern Line extension

ORR’s Chairman Declan Collier and Chief Executive John Larkinson have been visiting major projects across rail and road infrastructure – including the £1.5bn scheme on the A14 and the Northern Line extension at Battersea.

Freight

ORR’s role includes ensuring the rail market is competitive and fair for freight customers, and we also approve the contracts that freight operating companies have with Network Rail. Our Track Access Manager for Freight, Gordon Herbert outlines our key work with freight companies, and Tom Cole, Head of Competition, talks about how we ensure fair competition between operators.

Rail Financials

Each year, ORR reports on how the railway is funded, and how that money was spent. Our report for 2017-18 shows that the cost of running the railways rose by 1.4% to £20.6bn, while the industry received 1.3% less income than in the previous year.

Safety

As the health and safety regulator for UK railways, it’s our role to ensure that those responsible make Britain’s railways safe for passengers and provide a safe place for staff to work. Chloe Barton, an ORR legal adviser, writes about her Personal Track Safety course.

Stats

The ORR published its Passenger and Freight Rail Performance 2018-19 Q3 figures and Signals passed at danger (SPADS) 2018-19 Q3.

Roads

ORR recently published its third annual report on benchmarking Highways England. By highlighting examples of best practice, and areas for improvement, our benchmarking analysis aims to help identify and deliver improvements for road users. These reports provide important information on Highways England’s performance for our monitoring work, and will form part of the evidence for our assessment of Highways England’s plans for 2020-2025, which we will publish later this year.

Consultations

Consultations are an important part in how we carry out our regulatory duties. We are currently consulting on new guides for the Driver Licensing and Certificates Regulations, changes to our model network connection contracts, the regulatory framework for tramway safety and on scoping a review of delay attribution.

Website

Can you spare a few minutes to help shape the future of the ORR website?

If so, email kenny.walker@orr.gov.uk with your details and our digital consultants will be in touch.