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Performance data will be ‘granular’ and operator-specific in CP6, NR reveals

The rail industry is preparing itself to introduce “newer metrics of performance” in the next control period so that passengers can access more “granular information” relevant to their type of service, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach.

Speaking at a Transport Select Committee hearing, Jo Kaye, Network Rail’s executive director for network strategy and capacity planning, revealed that there are preparations underway to analyse how to best move forward with the public performance measure (PPM) currently used to collect data, making it more relevant to particular operators instead.

Kaye did acknowledge that the industry has been collectively using PPM for some time, and that people are “more or less comfortable with that”, but said: “There is a move in the industry to have more granular information, and different information for different operators.

“If you operate a high-intensity metro service, then people tend to be more interested in the service frequency – the interval between trains in a much more London Underground-style – than they are in the performance of the particular timetable. In other cases, in long distance, clearly time is a much more important thing.”

She appeared in the inquiry alongside Paul Harwood, the infrastructure owner’s strategy and planning director for the south, giving greater insight into how they plan to cope with pressures during construction works at Euston.

Part of this included reassuring MPs that there would be no repeat of the chaos previously caused by London Bridge work. These works, which have now allowed parts of its new concourse to open, contributed to severe disruption on the capital’s already congested rail network.

Network Rail admitted last year that it will need to ensure that work to prepare Euston for HS2 goes better than the work at London Bridge.

In the inquiry, Harwood said the infrastructure owner would “project” lessons learned from the London Bridge works into work at Euston, as well as major upgrades planned for Waterloo next August, and go about them “in a different way”.

Kaye added that a major factor in the disruptions had been how drivers and passengers reacted to the changes. Train drivers drove “more tentatively” when confronted with an unfamiliar layout, and some passengers were “really unsettled” by the changes.

“We accept that we underestimated those two factors at London Bridge, and they came together in a way that was very unpleasant for the people concerned,” she continued.

Network Rail would also introduce “more incremental changes” at London Euston, put more mitigations in place and ensure practical measures, such as more staff at stations.

“We’ve moderated some of our assumptions about how passengers will be able to cope with big changes that happen quite quickly,” she added.

Kaye was also questioned by the committee about the recent collapse of the roof at Manchester Victoria station.

She said Network Rail’s executive committee had discussed the “very unfortunate incident”, but that it couldn’t scrutinise further until an investigation by the supply chain behind the project was completed.

When asked about rumours that the damage to the roof which led to the collapse was caused by seagulls, Kaye said: “I would observe that we have seagulls in a number of other stations at the UK and the material used is certainly not unique to that station. The investigation will tell us, but I’m confident there will be other factors.”


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