Inquiry into May 2018 network disruption


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.

The inquiry has been conducted in addition to and alongside ORR’s existing monitoring and investigation activity that began in February 2018. This has looked into the compliance of Network Rail and the train operators with the terms of their licences in relation to the timeliness of the provision of timetable information to operators and passengers.

December 2018 final report

This document is the second and final report of the inquiry into network disruption in May 2018. It reviews the measures that have already been taken by industry and government and gives recommendations for further actions we consider need to be taken.

Our final report was published on 7 December 2018.

September 2018 findings

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The three-month inquiry found that Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Northern, the Department for Transport (DfT), and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) all made mistakes, which contributed to the collapse of services, particularly on the GTR and Northern routes.

A key issue, found by the inquiry, is that there is an apparent gap in industry responsibility and accountability for managing systemic risks, and that needs to change.

Our findings report was published on 20 September 2018.

The Timetable Inquiry Independent Advisory Panel Members

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  • Dame Deirdre Hutton, DBE, became chair of the Civil Aviation Authority on 1 August 2009, having previously been chair of the Food Standards Agency until July 2009. She has served on a number of public bodies and has considerable experience of corporate governance, risk-based regulation and consumer policy. She sits as a non-executive on the board of Thames Water Utilities Ltd, is pro-chancellor of Cranfield University and is honorary vice president of the Trading Standards Institute.
  • Mike Brown, MVO, was appointed commissioner of Transport for London in September 2015. He joined London Underground in 1989 and worked in various operational manager roles before becoming the company's chief operating officer in 2003. In 2008, he left to head up Heathrow, then the world's busiest international airport. He re-joined London Underground in 2010 as managing director and took the lead role in the successful delivery of transport for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Anne Heal has a particular focus on customer and consumer issues. She is currently a non-executive member of the ORR Board, the chair of the Thames Water Customer Challenge Group, and a lay member of the General Dental Council. She chairs the charity Volunteering Matters and is a Board member of ELEXON. She is a trustee of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and BalletBoyz. She was group regulatory affairs director of BT, and Openreach’s first managing director of strategy.
  • Michael Beswick has extensive senior level experience spanning the rail industry and its regulation. After joining British Rail as a graduate trainee, he had a range of front-line operational and business management jobs. Working for ORR, he had leading roles in the development of regulatory policy and the structure of the industry, infrastructure regulation and relationships with stakeholders. He was an executive member of the ORR Board from 2006 until his retirement in 2013.