HS2

30.07.18

ORR slams Network Rail over ‘systemic failings’ of May timetables, recovery plan due in August

The rail regulator has scolded Network Rail for its mismanagement of the chaotic new timetables that left many commuters stranded from 20 May.

In a report released after a thorough investigation, the ORR demanded that Network Rail take four immediate actions to improve passenger services following shortcomings in the organisation’s general management of the timetable changes.

The management of the new timetables, which caused £38m in lost hours and productivity from commuters in the north as well as widespread disruptions in the south, was blasted once again by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in a scathing letter to Theresa May today.

Burnham noted that a promise by Chris Grayling to end the chaos on the Northern rail system has “failed to bring any meaningful action” to turn things around.

The first of the four improvement actions the ORR called upon was for Network Rail to provide a report to the regulator by 31 August demonstrating how it is running an efficient, fair, effective, and transparent process in revising upcoming timetables.

“An immediate priority is the successful delivery of the December 2018 timetable, which is reliant on an effective and transparent process,” the report said.

The revision of the 2018 December timetables means it will take longer to recover normal timescales for notifying changes to the timetable— so the ORR stated that Network Rail must revise its recovery plan by 31 August to get timetables back to being agreed 12 weeks in advance. It must also publicly report on progress, including details and explanations of any late notice changes being considered.

The third and fourth objectives include the strengthening of timetabling and capability resources— first draft due to the ORR by 17 September— and better coordination between the sector of Network Rail carrying out the work (Infrastructure Projects) and its timetabling function (System Operator).

The report wrote: “Our investigation has also concluded that there are issues with the planning, management and delivery of Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects function and its interface with the System Operator timetabling function, and the routes. It is clear that decisions are not being taken with a whole system perspective in mind.”

John Larkinson, ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, argued that Network Rail’s failings up to the May timetable led to “massive disruption, uncertainty and inconvenience to passengers.”

He added: "Network Rail has acted to bring the industry together to address timetabling issues but more and faster change is needed to provide assurance to passengers. That is why we have set out these actions designed to improve capability within Network Rail.

"Our ongoing broader inquiry is looking at the role of the whole industry in the May timetabling problems and this may lead to further recommendations."

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: "The national rail timetable is a long-term timetable that changes twice a year. Network Rail’s role is one of co-ordination and deconfliction. The timetables themselves are the creation of operators up and down the country be they freight or passenger. Network Rail then manages this hugely complex industry process, twice a year, for new base timetables to be published in May and December.

"The recent painful issues around the May timetable have seen various causes at play, some of which have originated at Network Rail’s door but this is an industry wide issue and we are all working closely together to resolve the continuing, but lessening impacts of hundreds of new services and routes being introduced across the country."

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: Chalabala, iStock images

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Record number of passenger journeys as UK rail revenue rises to four-year high

18/06/2019Record number of passenger journeys as UK rail revenue rises to four-year high

Record figures of rail passenger journeys have been recorded in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the most recent quarterly report by the... more >
Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

18/06/2019Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

Train drivers’ union Aslef launched its On Track with Diversity report at the Houses of Parliament on Monday, as it looks to increase ... more >
Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >