Network Rail can “do more to help” passenger and freight train performance, says the Office of Rail and Road.
In its latest assessment of NR’s delivery of train performance, the regulator reports that fewer trains are arriving on time (70.2% in September compared with 72.6% in April), with an increase in cancellations. Delays increased in all five NR regions.
Freight train performance is also at its lowest point for the last five years.
“Passengers and freight are suffering from poor train performance, with issues extending across all of NR’s regions,” said ORR Chief Executive John Larkinson.
Acknowledging that some factors are beyond Network Rail’s control, such as industrial action, ORR says NR has made “good progress” which it “expects to continue” on improving resilience to extreme weather, as well as measures to reduce fatalities, trespass and theft.
To deliver better performance, ORR has identified five areas where NR “can, and must, do more”, said Larkinson.
- Wales and Western Region: Poor performance due to poor reliability of infrastructure, in particular track. ORR requires the region to produce an improvement plan and will “step in” if planned improvements are not delivered.
- Track reliability needs to improve in the North West and Central Region.
- The Eastern Region needs to improve the resilience of its overhead lines to prevent failure and disruption.
- Renewal of track on the Thameslink ‘core’ is needed after several summer failures that led to a high volume of significant incidents, cancellations and delays.
- Improvement plans in Scotland need to continue to “bring performance levels back to acceptable levels”
Larkinson concluded: “It is essential that the company now delivers on the specific interventions we have set out today. We will continue to scrutinise delivery and will take further action if there is insufficient progress”.
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