Calls for more Network Rail spending on reliability & safety (RailwayGazette)
On June 12 the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) issued its draft determination setting out its initial opinions on Network Rail’s £34bn strategic business plan for Control Period 6, which the infrastructure manager had published in February.
The draft determination is a key stage in the Periodic Review 2018 process, through which ORR will set out what Network Rail is required to deliver in CP6, which runs for five years from April 1 2019. It builds on the High-Level Output Specifications in which the UK (for England & Wales) and Scottish governments outlined what they want from the rail network, and their Statements of Funds Available which set out the financial envelope.
Consultation on the draft determination will close at the end of August, and ORR expects to publish its final determination at the end of October. NR’s plan for CP6 was developed on a different basis to previous plans. The changes reflect its reclassification as a public sector body, which has limited its access to commercial financing, along with a restructuring which has devolved responsibilities to geographically-based routes.
ORR said NR’s route-based plan for CP6 were better than the plan for CP5, but it had identified greater scope to boost reliability and safety. In particular, NR should amend its proposals to:
- • Deliver around £1bn of additional renewals, funded through greater efficiency and other savings. This would bring the total renewals budget to £18bn
- • Include an extra £80m for safety-related expenditure, including spending on level crossings and worker safety initiatives
- • Reallocate £0·9bn of the £1·7bn England & Wales funding from central to route budgets
- • Work with passenger operators to ensure that they are fully engaged in the process to finalise performance targets. This would include reviewing performance measures for the Wessex, South East and Anglia routes to ensure they are robust and consistent with other routes
- • Create a £10m performance innovation fund