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ORR highly critical of Network Rail’s ‘disappointing’ start to CP5

The first seven months of CP5 have proved ‘very disappointing’, with almost every aspect of Network Rail’s business getting worse, according to Richard Price, chief executive of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

In a letter sent to Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, last week, Price stated that although we are still at an early stage of CP5, the data does “not yet show the planned recovery in service reliability and punctuality for customers is happening”. 

The letter comes just a couple of weeks after the ORR published its latest report on the performance of Network Rail from April to October, which revealed the owner of Britain’s rail infrastructure is currently £40m over its annual budget and forecasts it to be around £112m over by the end of the fiscal year. The report also found that passenger train performance is behind plan and the industry is currently around 1% behind its year-end target of 91.1%. 

In Price’s letter to Carne, who joined Network Rail in February, he said: “It is essential for your company’s credibility as an infrastructure manager that this is put right.” 

However, rail union RMT has blasted the ORR for ‘rank hypocrisy’ in its letter, which it believes is part of a strategy to destabilise the publicly-owned infrastructure operator “as business and politicians push for its privatisation”. 

Network Rail was re-classified as a central government body in September this year, with its debt of around £34bn transferred to the national balance sheet. 

The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “Rail workers are sick and tired of the highly-political row between the ORR and Network Rail which is undermining morale at a time when there is massive pressure on services and infrastructure. 

“While there are serious issues facing Network Rail they are compounded by the fact that ORR are demanding cuts, dressed up as so-called efficiencies, which are draining away jobs and finance and fuelling an agenda of casualisation and sub-contracting.” 

Rail Technology Magazine was told by the ORR that the letter, which has been seen by the Financial Times, will be published on its website later this week. However, it stated that the extracts that have been made public, thus far, are accurate. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at


Lutz   15/12/2014 at 23:31

Good old RMT - the usual hypocrisy - more regular than their own driving.

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