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Network Rail opened up to more public scrutiny in CP5 – ORR

Network Rail will be opened up to scrutiny during CP5 as it delivers its plan for creating a higher performing and more efficient railway.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has stated that Network Rail will report on its progress more openly than ever before so that funders, including governments, taxpayers and rail users can understand better how money is being spent and monitor progress.

And, for the first time, the owner and operator of Britain’s railways will publish disaggregated information on key aspects of asset management, route and train operator performance statistics, and its detailed plans to improve performance on the rail network.

Key areas where Network Rail will operate more transparently include:

  • Rail performance – New and more disaggregated data on train services will be made publicly available by Network Rail, including right time punctuality, cancelled trains and average lateness. Data will also be updated each quarter on ORR's data portal to highlight areas of good performance and any emerging problems.
  • Value for money – More detailed information will be made available on Network Rail’s website about the major investment programme to improve Britain’s railways worth more than £12bn, in relation to completion dates, costs, and when passenger journeys will be disrupted. ORR will scrutinise Network Rail’s performance throughout the year, reporting on progress throughout CP5 in bi-annual ‘Monitor’ reports to be published in June and November.
  • Asset management – The performance of Network Rail’s assets is critical to improving rail punctuality and safety in CP5. Regulatory targets have been introduced for the company’s overall competence in asset management as well as the quality of data it gathers. Network Rail will publish new regional asset information, including volumes of work taking place and the condition of assets such as track, bridges, buildings, earthworks, signalling and telecoms equipment. Network Rail will publish updates each year, with statistics also available on ORR’s data portal.
  • Safety – ORR will report annually on all areas of Network Rail’s work to improve safety, including progress in delivering £250m worth of new equipment and safer working practices for track workers, and £99m of ring-fenced funding to close and upgrade over 500 levels crossings.
  • Climate change and resilience – As part of its CP5 obligations, Network Rail will publish plans for all routes by September 2014 listing specific and critical works required to improve resilience to climate change and extreme weather. The company will also publish a more detailed range of environmental indicators, including waste totals (landfill, waste to energy, recycled), carbon and CO2 emissions, and the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Richard Price, ORR’s chief executive, said: “Network Rail, working with the rail industry, has now embarked on plans to improve the safety, performance and efficiency of Britain’s railways between 2014 and 2019. Billions of pounds of funding for these plans have come from governments, taxpayers and customers – as ORR scrutinises delivery of plans, it is right that the public can monitor progress too.”

Mark Farrow, head of transparency for Network Rail, added that given the amount of money that taxpayers and the travelling public put into the rail industry, it is important they are able to scrutinise where that money goes and the improvements it helps deliver.

“Network Rail has taken the lead in opening up the rail industry to new levels of transparency and we will continue to look for opportunities to make more information available in future,” he said.

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