Office of Rail and Road Update - October 2020


Welcome to our October newsletter.

Raising standards for rail passengers is a key aspect of our work. These have improved in recent years, but more needs to be done to john-larkinsonmeet passenger expectations.

This month we announced new initiatives designed to drive change and improve journeys for passengers.

We have published updated guidance requiring train operators to provide a better experience for disabled passengers when rail replacement services are operating. Among other things, this includes new rules to ensure that train companies seek to secure accessible vehicles from bus and coach companies.

New rules have also been introduced to improve the reliability of assistance for disabled passengers when using rail services. 

In addition, we are working with the rail industry on the trialling of a new ‘Customer Information Measure’. This will provide a framework for train companies to assess strengths and weaknesses in how passenger information is managed and drive improvements. This is one element in the industry’s recently published plan to improve the provision of passenger information (particularly during disruption). This plan responds to our call to the industry in January to do more to improve in this area.

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Heritage railways react positively to improving safety

The non-mainline heritage rail sector has improved the management of safety across its railways and has been praised by ORR for how it has managed the reopening of railways closed by the coronavirus pandemic. You can read more details here.

Our new website

As you can see, we have recently redesigned our website to make it simpler to navigate, with an improved search function and better accessibility. The website is the result of detailed feedback and user testing, so thank you if you participated in this. If you have feedback on the new website please let us know via


Inspecting the London Undergrounddominic-long

Dominic Long and his colleague Kam Sandhu, ORR’s Transport for London (TfL) inspectors, recently undertook a series of assurance visits, looking at London Underground’s and TfL Rail’s coronavirus planning and arrangements at stations and train crew depots. He describes the experience here.


graham-richardsClearing the road for Highways England to deliver RIS2

Graham Richards, Director of Planning and Performance, describes ORR’s role in the second Road Investment Strategy’s development and delivery.




  • Rail safety statistics 2019-20 - annual safety statistics including accidents to passengers, workforce, members of the public and dangerous incidents
  • Passenger Rail Performance - these show a substantial reduction in train services during the first quarter of 2020, following restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between April and June there were 1.2 million trains planned which was 0.7 million (36.7%) less than the same quarter last year.
  • Freight rail usage and performance - these indicate the impact of the pandemic, with lower numbers of passenger and freight train services in operation during the first quarter of 2020-21 leading to improvements in performance, and a reduction in freight volumes.