ORR calls for Network Rail Scotland to increase its focus on delivering £385m savings plans


The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has seen encouraging progress from Network Rail to improve its efficiency plans and delivery in Scotland, however more needs to be done.

ORR’s report, published today, assesses Network Rail’s progress on its commitment to make £385m of efficiency improvements in Scotland from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2024.

Network Rail has responded well to ORR’s initial concerns and has developed an efficiency improvement plan. An independent review, commissioned by ORR concluded that in Scotland, Network Rail needs to increase its focus if it is to deliver its planned efficiency improvements.

In Scotland, Network Rail plans to deliver £35m of efficiency savings in 2019-20, this is slightly behind its £39m target. The efficiency challenge increases significantly in 2020-21 as more work to renew the railway is planned. Reflecting on this increase, more needs to be done over the next few months, particularly in relation to the quality of a number of renewals efficiency plans, as these are critical to delivering the increasing efficiency targets.

ORR is also reviewing how efficiently Network Rail is engaging with the supply chain given lower than anticipated work orders and the current 22% underspend of renewals work, which Network Rail is confident will be mainly recovered by the end of the year. However, the delivery challenge increases next year.

John Larkinson, Chief Executive, ORR said:

"We have seen progress from Network Rail in response to our earlier concerns. However, there can be no let-up in the focus that Network Rail needs to put on delivering efficiently in Scotland, particularly on ensuring work to renew the railway is planned well in advance to help avoid falling behind, to maximise efficiency and provide a stable work plan for the supply chain. ORR will be continuing to keep a close eye on progress to ensure Network Rail delivers this important investment plan efficiently and we will report publically on these matters."