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ORR approves Network Rail’s £35bn CP6 spending plans

The ORR has today set outs its final determination on Network Rail’s £35bn plans for CP6, the five-year period from 1 April next year.

The rail regulator has approved £7.7bn of spending for the maintenance of existing railways, and £16.6bn for renewing railways – a 17% increase from CP5. It is hoped that this will help cut delays caused by infrastructure failures.

It also confirmed Network Rail’s plans for a major boost in funding to its timetabling and planning functions with the system operator’s forecast spend nearly doubling to £260m in CP6 from £145m in CP5.

Back in summer, the DfT called for intensified monitoring of Network Rail going in to CP6 to avoid the “stasis” of CP5.

The control period will also see Network Rail operate more locally as each geographic route is set to have its own budget, delivery plan, and scorecard, with the ORR enabling local routes to buy the goods or services they need locally more easily. This will allow for better value for money and allow local routes more responsibility as they are best placed to deliver services for the people they serve.

The ORR also announced a £245m research and development fund to help develop new technology that will improve the rail industry’s performance and efficiency, and confirmed plans to simplify industry charges and incentives, which includes scrapping outdated mechanisms and capping charges for freight and charter operators.

John Larkinson, chief executive of the ORR, said: "Today’s decisions means that Network Rail, its routes and its system operator can now press forward with their plans to deliver a service which passengers and freight customers rightly demand and deserve.

"These plans are focused on improving performance for passengers and freight operators by getting the basics right – ensuring that the railway is properly maintained and renewed, and on improving the daily operation of the railway.

"There is no time to lose; Network Rail and, in particular, the routes and system operator must make sure they are ready to deliver from day one of the new control period. That is why we have and will continue to report on – and where necessary challenge – Network Rail’s readiness."

Top image: Jonathan Brady via PA Wire PA Images


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