Office of Rail and Road Update - January 2019
Welcome to ORR's January Newsletter.
We have started 2019 with a busy agenda, including preparing for how we will regulate Network Rail differently in the new Control Period from April 1st. Thank you to everyone who has responded to our consultations on this, which have helped us develop an improved approach to holding Network Rail to account for the benefit of passengers and other railway users.
We continue work on important issues affecting passengers and have extended our consultation, to February 1st, on our proposals to improve the service offered to passengers who need assistance. Go here if you would like to contribute.
We are also carrying on with the essential day-to-day tasks that the industry relies on to provide a good service. To name just a few: our safety inspections; authorisation of new trains and infrastructure; licensing train drivers; and monitoring competition and innovation in rail markets, taking action where we think we could improve the efficiency of the market and bring benefits for users.
Two good examples of the latter include our ongoing market study into station ticket gates and ticket vending machines, and engaging with the European Commission to highlight the significant threat to competition in the UK signalling and rolling stock markets as a result of the proposed Siemens-Alstom merger – this would drive up costs in the UK. We’re pleased that this merger is being seriously probed by the Commission and are hopeful of a positive result for the UK.
Finally, we are very pleased to welcome Declan Collier as the new Chair of ORR. Declan started work this month and is now meeting stakeholders across the rail and road industry.
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 incidents at Whitechapel Station in June 2016, and a level crossing in East Farleigh in April 2015 respectively.
ORR's role includes looking at how greater competition on the rail network - such as by open access operators - might lead to benefits for passengers. Beth Tasker from our competition economics team, writes on our work.
Consumer / Stats
ORR compiles and publishes a number of Official Statistics.
We've recently and for the first time published data on how train companies perform in dealing with delay compensation claims, looking at the 3 million such claims made between April and Mid-October 2018. Whilst it is good to see that train companies are, in the main, dealing with these promptly, some companies are not. ORR will be meeting with all train companies later this month to review the current timescales for compensation claims particularly where these are below target.