Network Rail regulation and performance


ScotRail accepts 20 action points to improve performance in new plan

The ScotRail Alliance has published a performance improvement plan that it says will drive up standards and help to build “the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

According to recent figures, nine out of 10 ScotRail trains arrive within their target time; nevertheless, the alliance’s managing director, Alex Hynes, commissioned an independent review to recommend further improvements.

Railway expert Nick Donovan, previously Northern Powerhouse Rail director for Transport for the North, has made 20 recommendations, all of which have been accepted and form part of the performance improvement plan.

Key elements of the improvement plan include measures to improve infrastructure and train reliability, better infrastructure performance during autumn, a review of both short- and long-term fleet maintenance activities, and the suspension of skip-stopping, except as a last resort.

The determination of the root cause of infrastructure component failures should be improved, and failures that occur soon after work completion should be eliminated through additional post-work inspections and robust governance arrangements.

Donovan recommended a network-wide performance model capable of simulating dull network dependencies, including interactions between unit and crew diagrams, and that measures be urgently put in place for right-time departures at Whifflet and Milngavie stations.

Over the coming months, Network Rail Scotland and ScotRail will work together to implement the performance improvement plan, and Donovan will continue to work with the alliance to support the delivery of the improvement plan.

Hynes, who spoke to RTM late last year about the untapped opportunities present as part of the alliance, said: “Nine out of 10 ScotRail trains arrive within their target time, which makes us the best performing large operator in the UK. But we know our customers demand the highest possible standards, which is why I commissioned an independent review into train service performance in Scotland.

“The performance improvement plan will take time to deliver. A lot of hard work will be needed to tackle the underlying problems that can cause performance to fall below the standard our customers expect.”

Donovan added that he was pleased to make the recommendations and looks forward to working with Network Rail and ScotRail to deliver them.

“There is a lot of great work taking place across Scotland’s railway, and the performance improvement plan will build on that,” he concluded.

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