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29.09.17

ORR invites views on TOC access charges reform

The Office of Road and Rail (ORR) has released details about the consultation into the charges that operators pay to access the rail network as part of Network Rail’s 2018 periodic review.

Access charges play an important role in influencing outcomes for passengers, freight customers and taxpayers as they shape the decisions made by Network Rail, train operators and funders about the use of the rail network.

The consultation aims to continue the ORR’s work towards levying charges, subject to a ‘market-can-bear’ test, which it confirmed that it would work towards back in June 2017.

The regulator has prioritised reforms to charges which will recover some of the fixed operating costs of the network. These fees, known as ‘infrastructure cost charges,’ will be identified within a number of different market segments. An independent costing expert has been employed to review and suggest improvements to the current cost allocation.

The consultation proposes that the existing approach to market segmentations should be retained for freight services, based on commodities carried. It sets out to define passenger market segments for the purposes of levying infrastructure cost charges and the approach to levying infrastructure cost charges on passenger operators, both franchised and open access.

There is also a proposal to allow Network Rail to continue to levy infrastructure cost charges on trains that carry coal for the electricity supply industry, spent nuclear fuel and iron ore. The ORR also suggests defining trains carrying biomass for the electricity supply industry as a market segment which is able to bear infrastructure cost charges.

Responses to the eight-week consultation are invited, and should be received by 17 November. To take part, click here.

The countdown is on to get your entries in for this year’s UKRIA. Closing date is 9 October. ENTER NOW!

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