Rail investigations

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We protect the interests of rail users by monitoring compliance on a range of issues and will use our enforcement powers to take action when necessary.

Train operators' licence conditions
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Operators of railway assets (trains, networks, stations and depots) must comply with a range of conditions in their licences and the Statement of National Regulatory Provisions (SNRPs). Our economic enforcement policy and penalties statement explains our policy for enforcing all licences and the actions available to us.

Current investigations

Opened: October 2018
Investigation into GTR and Northern's provision of information to passengers during and after the May 2018 timetable disruption

Inquiry into May 2018 network disruption
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In May 2018 a new timetable was introduced for large parts of Britain’s railway network, which caused major disruption to services for passengers especially in the North of England and in the South East.

At the request of the Government, ORR established an Inquiry into the factors that contributed to the failure to produce and implement a satisfactory operational timetable in May 2018. Our final report was published on 7 December 2018.

Health and safety
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ORR has a range of formal enforcement powers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

You can find details of  improvement notices and prohibition notices served by inspectors, and details of enforcement action taken by us to date.

Network Rail
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We hold Network Rail to account for delivering its obligations to provide a safe, high-performing, and efficient railway. We do this through our range of regulatory powers; under safety legislation; by enforcing compliance with its licences; and by conducting five-yearly reviews that set its funding and what it must achieve within the relevant control period.

Current investigations

Opened: November 2018
Enforcement action to deliver improved performance
ORR issued a provisional order requiring Network Rail to engage and work with train operators; and deliver a report to ORR by 15 February 2019 detailing how it is identifying the common underlying issues relating to performance planning and service recovery; and addressing and implementing the conclusions of its report going forward into CP6.

On 3 April 2019, ORR approved the action Network Rail must take to improve train performance for passengers and freight users both immediately and in the longer term.

Opened: May 2018
Investigation of Network Rail's compliance with its network licence timetabling obligations

Competition
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We have a duty to keep the provision of railway services under review and to take appropriate measures where markets are not working to the benefit of users or funders. We have enforcement powers under the Competition Act 1998. We also have powers under the Enterprise Act to carry out market studies.

Current investigations

There are currently no open investigations.

In May 2018, a new timetable was introduced for large parts of the UK’s railway network. This caused major disruption to services for passengers, especially in the North of England and in the South East. At the request of the Government, ORR set up an inquiry into the factors that contributed to the failure to produce and implement a satisfactory operational timetable in May 2018.

In February 2018, Network Rail announced that it was not able to produce finalised timetables 12 weeks in advance (this process is known as T-12). It announced plans to finalise timetables six weeks in advance and a plan to get the timetabling schedule back to normal. These issues left passengers unable to access journey information in the usual timescales during 2018 and part of 2019 (typically journey information is available 12 weeks in advance).

Our conclusions on two separate investigations to consider whether Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern breached their licence condition around providing appropriate, accurate and timely information in both the run-up to the introduction of the 20 May 2018 timetable and also during the disruption that followed.

We issued a provisional order requiring Network Rail to engage and work with train operators; deliver a report to ORR by 15 February 2019 detailing how it was identifying the common underlying issues relating to performance planning and service recovery; and addressing and implementing the conclusions of its report going forward into CP6.