Office of Rail and Road May 2023 newsletter

2 May 2023
Vinita Hill
Vinita Hill
Director Corporate Operations
Cover Image
Railway track

Hello and welcome to May's newsletter. 

I am pleased to tell you that this month we have published our Business Plan for 2023/24, an important document for us as we set out what we are committing to over the coming year. As our CEO, John Larkinson, points out in the Plan’s foreword, it’s going to be a busy year as we continue our oversight and support of the rail and road industries, in the interests of users.  

We want rail passengers to travel safely and with confidence, so we will maintain our focus this year on requiring improvements to train service performance, and we will continue to work collaboratively across the industry on this important issue. The financial pressures facing the rail industry are well known, with this in mind we will continue to work with Network Rail on their efficiencies.   

And while our day-to-day work keeps us busy, we are also working on important discrete programmes: the third Road Investment Strategy; delivering the 2023 Periodic Review of Network Rail’s funding and the 2024 Periodic Review of HS1.   

Vinita Hill  
Director Corporate Operations 

Top stories

Amey Rail Limited fined £533,000 following electrical shock injury to worker 

April saw the successful prosecution of Amey Rail Limited in a case brought by ORR. This was of an incident which happened in 2019 when a worker came in contact with a live wire whilst working outside Paddington Station.  This left the worker with 55% burns and damage to his hearing and sight. ORR found that Amey did not have effective and adequate systems in place to prevent such an accident occurring. ORR’s Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser, welcomed the judgement and hoped it sent a clear message to anyone responsible for work on the railway about the need to safeguard those working on it. 

Punctuality and reliability continued to be the top cause for passenger complaints 

Punctuality and reliability continued to be the top cause for passenger complaints accounting for 18.6% of all rail passenger complaints between 1 October to 31 December 2022. The latest statistics are published shortly after ORR’s new Complaints Code of Practice for all train companies came into force on 1 April 2023 - designed to embed a culture where insights from complaints are used to drive continuous improvement, and to incentivise quality and timeliness in complaints handling. 

ORR Consultation: Network Rail Licence Modification on deadline for producing a timetable 

ORR has launched a consultation on a proposal to modify the Network Rail network licence. The Network Rail-led proposal was developed and agreed by most of the industry but is still subject to ORR approval. The main part of this consultation relates to the period before travel for when Network Rail must produce a ‘final’ timetable. We’re seeking evidence of the impact on passengers and other users of industry’s plans for this requirement to be fewer than the current network code requirement of twelve weeks ahead of services running. For more information about the consultation, and to submit evidence before it closes on 23 May, go here

ORR speaking at Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum

Principal Economist for Highways, Stephen Bussell, will be speaking on a panel looking ahead to the draft RIS3. As we continue our day to day work scrutinising RIS3, it will be an excellent opportunity to discuss the development and improvement of the strategic road network with the panellists. The event take places on the morning of Friday 14 July and you can register for your place here


Our policy on how we hold Network Rail to account 

Senior Policy Manager, Dan Roberts, explains ORR’s policy of how we will hold Network Rail to account against the requirements in their network licence and the final determination we will make as part of our 2023 Periodic Review (PR23). 

Driving down the cost of railway signalling

Senior Manager in Competition Policy, Ben Watkins, discusses ORR’s review into the rail signalling market and how changes in how this equipment is procured look set to deliver better value for money. 


In April, we have published the following statistics: 

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Vinita Hill