ORR opens investigation into underperforming Wales and Western region

ORR opens investigation into underperforming Wales and Western region

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has launched an investigation into poor train punctuality and reliability in the Network Rail Wales & Western region.

The news comes as train performance in the Wales & Western region has continued to deteriorate whilst the British  while the wider network across Great Britain has seen performance stabilising.  

The regulator said that it will be working with Network Rail on possible measures to improve performance for passengers and freight, including convening a roundtable of parties who currently have a role in the delivery of services in the region. This will aim to bring together Network Rail, train operating companies and freight operators to deliver a joined-up approach.

Among the areas the ORR will focus on is Network Rail’s compliance with its licence obligations and what it is currently doing to deliver train performance.

This will include the regulator reviewing the effectiveness of the region’s performance improvement plan, whether assets are being managed appropriately and the impact of changes to the rail network on train performance.

Feras Alshaker, director, Performance and Planning at ORR, said: “While Network Rail has begun making good progress in stabilising performance elsewhere on the network, performance in the Wales & Western region has continued to deteriorate, meaning poor reliability and punctuality for passengers and freight.

“Our investigation will take a detailed look at the root causes of the region’s performance issues and will consider wider contributing factors. As part of our work we will convene a roundtable with key players in the region to support Network Rail in taking pragmatic and effective action to improve performance for all the region’s rail users.”

Michelle Handworth, Wales and Western managing director, said: "We welcome this cross-industry review which recognises the importance of Network Rail and the train operating companies working effectively together to deliver a reliable railway for the thousands of passengers and freight customers who depend on it every day.

"We know that when we work efficiently and effectively with train and freight operating companies it leads to more reliable services.

"However, we recognise there is much more work to be done across our region, and our biggest challenge is the critical Thames Valley, which is one of the busiest corridors in the country.

"We will, of course, co-operate fully with the ORR as it undertakes its review and look forward to receiving its recommendations."

Based on its investigation, ORR will determine whether or not there is more that Network Rail could be doing and may decide on appropriate measures, which could include enforcement action.

Photo Credit: iStock

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