December 2014 engineering overruns investigation


On 27 and 28 of December 2014, passengers travelling into or out of King's Cross and Paddington stations were severely disrupted as a result of overrunning engineering works. Over the two days we estimate that more than 115,000 passengers were affected in some way by this disruption.

We announced we would be carrying out an investigation on 29 December and published the terms of reference for our investigation on 12 January 2015. In carrying out our investigation, we have set out to establish quickly the underlying causes which resulted in the poor passenger experience so that the industry can address any shortcomings in planning and delivering future engineering work.

Our investigation was informed by direct feedback from passengers, and evidence from Passenger Focus, London Travel Watch, Network Rail, and all of the affected train operators. We have now concluded our investigation and produced a report of our findings and recommendations.

Our report sets out the timeline of events, our analysis of the causes of the disruption; which shows that there were significant weaknesses in the planning and oversight of the King's Cross and Paddington works, and how communication was managed when overruns occurred. It also sets out our decision in relation to finding a breach of Network Rail's licence. As a result, we have set out requirements that ensure Network Rail, working with train operators, develop clear contingency plans which help passengers if works overrun, and that if needed, the plans are implemented in a timely and effective way.

Network Rail is reviewing all contingency plans for works scheduled over Easter and the May 2015 bank holidays. ORR expects Network Rail to have implemented all the recommendations, including those which require work with train operators, in advance of the Christmas 2015 engineering works. We will audit their implementation to make sure the improvements are all in place.

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