Office of Rail and Road Update - October 2019

8 October 2019

Welcome to our October newsletter.

In November 2018, we took enforcement action against Network Rail for weaknesses in its management of performance and I wanted to give an update on what has happened since we took that action.

Earlier this year, Network Rail submitted a report to us setting out its analysis of the underlying causes of poor performance and outlining the steps that it would take to address these, including by working collaboratively with others in the industry. We were satisfied that this set out appropriate actions to improve performance, but required Network Rail to provide us with quarterly updates to demonstrate the commitments that it had made were being followed through and were securing the necessary improvements. Network Rail’s latest update was provided last week, and we are currently reviewing this.

We will continue to monitor Network Rail’s progress in this area and will take further steps if necessary in the interests of passengers and freight customers.

The latest information on industry performance, published in September, is available below.

John Larkinson
Chief Executive

Top stories

2019 periodic review of High Speed 1

At the end of last month, we published our draft determination on amount of funding that HS1 Ltd should have to keep the High Speed 1 network between St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel in good condition over the period 2020-25. This follows our detailed scrutiny of HS1 Ltd’s plans and its proposals for the charges that train operators should pay to use the network.

Our role here is to provide independent assurance that High Speed 1’s assets can be kept in good condition over the long term at the lowest possible cost. This is so that train operators and, in turn, passengers and freight users, get a fair deal now but not at the expense of future generations.

We are currently consulting on the draft determination until 11 November, and will then publish our final determination in January 2020. Further information is available here.

Safety – ORR featured on BBC Defenders

  • Two of ORR’s safety investigations have recently been covered on the BBC’s ‘Defenders UK’ programme:
    our investigation into a signaller suffering serious injuries after being struck by a level crossing gate at East Farleigh Station. The case is featured at 27:36s & 37:44s on BBC iPlayer and can be viewed here; and
  • our investigation into how children were seriously injured in an incident at Tyne Yard rail depot, which resulted in a prosecution and a fine of £2.7m.  The case is featured at 29:47s on BBC iPlayer and can be viewed here.

Statistical releases

In September, we published a number of statistical releases. It is worth noting that the passenger rail performance release includes new punctuality and reliability performance measures developed by the industry (such as the ‘on time’ measure recording the percentage of recorded station stops arrived at early or less than one minute after the scheduled arrival time).

The statistical releases are available from the following links;

Website user satisfaction survey

Please tell us what you think about our website by completing a short survey. This will help us improve your experience.

Other news

  • We are currently consulting on our draft determination for HS1 Ltd’s periodic review (PR19). Please follow this link to find out how to participate in the consultation
  • Interested in the results of our 2019 Stakeholder Survey? Read our infographic here.
  • Please note that in November ORR are moving to new offices in Canary Wharf.


Statistics you can use

Tom Leveson Gower, one of ORR’s data analysts, has written a blog on the rail statistics that ORR publishes.

This explains how we have made information more accessible through new interactive charts. These allow users to see how individual passenger train operators have performed over the last five years as well as how much delay is attributable to them, how much is due to Network Rail infrastructure (such as points and signal failures) and how much is caused by other factors. The blog is available here.