Rail regulators have begun the long process of calculating Network Rail’s track access charges and funding needs for 2019-2024 (known as Control Period 6, CP6), with the launch of the first of many consultation documents on May 18.
The initial document calls for views about the process the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) intends to take. Chief Executive Joanna Whittington said: “ORR’s review will support a safer, more efficient and better-performing railway, delivering value for passengers, freight customers and taxpayers into the next decade and beyond.
“Network Rail is increasingly devolving responsibilities to local managers who can work with local communities and businesses. We propose to support this by regulating the company in a different way, looking separately at its national and local responsibilities.”
Since ORR last reviewed NR’s charges and funding, the track owner has been taken under direct government control, with the reclassification of its debts onto the public books. These debts are predicted to reach £51 billion by the end of the current 2014-2019 Control Period, and NR is now subject to strict borrowing limits imposed by the Treasury.
ORR notes: “The borrowing limits and the process for agreeing them is the most important financial issue affecting Network Rail in CP6.”
- For more on this, read RAIL 802, published on June 8.