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03.04.19

ORR approves action improvement plan from Network Rail

An action plan from Network Rail to improve its performance in response to enforcement action taken against it in November last year has been given approval by the ORR.

Network Rail has set out how it intends to improve its poor performance by working in collaboration with train operators to establish a new performance management system, improve its response to incidents, and increase its operational capacity.

Last year Network Rail’s punctuality and reliability levels dropped to their lowest point since the five-year control period began, causing the ORR to issue a provisional order requiring it to take urgent action to address its failings.

The ORR’s half-year Network Rail Monitor found that the extreme weather from snow to severe heat and issues implementing the chaotic May timetable changes have all contributed the infrastructure manager’s poor performance.

But Network Rail’s detailed response outlines a number of new actions it is taking to identify and address the underlying issues which “have led to a prolonged deterioration in punctuality and reliability.”

These include establishing a new performance management system which will give a clearer understanding of the factors causing delays.

Network Rail said it will improve its response to incidents and shorten the time taken to recover to a normal service after disruption, and will also up its recruitment and staff training to increase its operational capacity.

Graham Richards, director of planning and performance at ORR said: “There must be no let-up in the drive to improve performance and we will be making sure Network Rail delivers on its promised steps aimed at improving performance for passengers and freight customers.

“We are pleased to see that Network Rail has reacted positively to our enforcement action and has a thorough plan to identify and tackle the root causes of the deterioration of punctuality.”

Last week the ORR announced it was also introducing new regulations to hold Network Rail to account by targeting the areas that have the most serious impact on passengers and funders, as well as looking at hitting senior manager’s bonuses for missed performance targets.

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