Latest Rail News

07.03.12

Alliance draft policy statement published

Network Rail’s proposals to form alliances with several operators have been welcomed by the ORR, if certain regulatory expectations are met.

The alliances involve greater integration and close working with operators to improve services to passengers and reduce cost. The alliances may also look at how stations can be better managed to provide a better service to passengers, how engineering work can be better planned or how improvements to train punctuality can be delivered.

A different type of working, labelled a ‘deep alliance’ is being developed with the Wessex route and South West Trains.

Paul Plummer, group strategy director, said: “Network Rail is committed to bringing down barriers to greater co-operation in the rail industry. By alliancing, we can work more efficiently with ultimate benefits to the taxpayer, passengers and freight users.

“Working with train operators in an alliance framework we will be able to better align incentives and see quicker, more joined-up, decision making. There will be a joint focus to drive continuous safety improvement and the needs of all customers – franchised, open access or freight – will be safeguarded.”

The ORR highlighted three key areas for Network Rail to consider in alliancing: ensuring there is legal compliance to existing obligations, non-discrimination in negotiating alliances and transparency.

ORR chief executive Richard Price said: “The development of alliances will act as a spur to both greater customer satisfaction and efficiency.

“ORR is here to protect the interests of passengers and taxpayers, and we understand that the rail industry needs clarity from us about our approach so it can get on with the job of implementing agreements. That is why we have set out key alliance requirements. ORR will expect to see rigorous safeguards to ensure that third parties are protected, and we will be robust in our monitoring of this.

“Alliancing has real potential to improve the lot of customers and taxpayers, and we look forward to seeing industry take these plans forward.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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