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Regulator publishes assessment of Network Rail performance over winter months

5 March 2014  •  Author: The Office of Rail Regulation

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has today published its assessment of Network Rail’s performance between October 2013 and January 2014. ORR’s analysis found that Network Rail, working with the rest of the industry, coped well with the wettest winter in almost 250 years. Train punctuality was severely impacted by the weather, and the report highlights that rather than focussing on performance targets during this exceptional period, Network Rail rightly concentrated on working with train operators to keep passengers informed and get them to their destinations safely. ORR has asked Passenger Focus to research individual passengers’ views on how well information was provided during the storms of January and February 2014.

At the same time, Network Rail successfully delivered a record number of complex engineering projects over the Christmas and New Year period, completing more than 300 projects aimed at improving and expanding the network for the benefit of passengers and customers. The report also identifies longer-term issues affecting rail performance, including timetable planning, elements of Network Rail’s performance improvement plans which need to be delivered to turn around the recent decline in performance.

ORR’s director of railway performance Alan Price said:

Network Rail and the train operators worked well together to keep rail services running safely during the wettest winter in almost 250 years. Keeping passengers informed and operating a safe network are the top priorities for the whole industry during severe weather conditions.

The rail industry is focussed on responding to the challenge of severe weather conditions and climate change. Network Rail has committed to provide plans for all routes by September 2014 which list specific and critical works required to improve network resilience, and to identify any improvements urgently needed before then. ORR has approved more than £21bn of funding over the next five years to improve the day-to-day running of the rail network, and will be closely monitoring the company’s efforts to ensure disruption to services are minimised.

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