Press releases

ORR reports on Network Rail’s performance in Scotland from 2009 to 2014

7 July 2014

Content archived on 25 September 2023

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has today concluded its assessment of Network Rail’s performance against funded obligations between 2009 and 2014 for Scotland, England and Wales. ORR highlights enhancements and growth in Britain’s railways, as well as shortfalls in performance for passengers which require the company to return £53.1m to funders and improve the resilience of the network.
Archive date
19 July 2021

ORR's analysis identified a number of successes over the past five years in Scotland. The company has delivered a significant programme of enhancements to the Scottish network including a new station building and concourse at Haymarket Station, the Airdrie to Bathgate project, and electrification of the Cumbernauld-Glasgow line.

Passengers have seen the successful delivery of these projects with modernised train stations, enhanced infrastructure providing better services and new faster electric trains running on Scottish routes. Network Rail, with First ScotRail, is also carrying record numbers of passengers. In the past few years, passenger journeys in Scotland have increased by 8.9% from 76.43m in 2008-09 to 83.25m in 2012-13.

However, investigations into the company's operational performance in Scotland found that it narrowly missed the regulatory target by 0.6 percentage points achieving 91.4% punctuality but that performance has been strong in past few months.  Network Rail's performance in Scotland was hindered, in part, due to timetabling errors in December 2012 and poor asset quality in, for example, drainage, tracks and bridges. Network Rail has since addressed these issues and focussed on improving performance through delivery of its Further Improvement Plan.

In improving performance, Network Rail focused its investment and efforts on track drainage and better weather resilience on the Scottish network. These measures showed their worth during the wettest December (2013) on record, when delays due to flooding were lower than other such periods.

Network Rail, working with the rail industry, has now embarked on plans to improve the safety, performance and efficiency of Britain's railways between 2014 and 2019. The company must do more to 'predict and prevent' problems on the network before they create disruption for passengers – enhanced asset management and delivery of maintenance, renewal, and resilience plans are vital.

ORR Chief Executive Richard Price said:

Network Rail has been successful in modernising and improving Britain's railways over the past five years, during a period which has seen record numbers of passengers. In Scotland, it has shown strong performance by learning from its mistakes; focusing on better maintenance of track, bridges, tunnels and drainage; and by making the network more resilient to climate change. Scotland is leading other Network Rail routes in overall asset management capability, and we are keen to see the company adopt this approach for other parts of the network.
ORR has introduced new regulatory targets to ensure the company strengthens its asset management and delivers its plans. We will be scrutinising the company's performance more closely over the coming years to ensure the company delivers all of its obligations for passengers.

Notes to editors

  1. Network Rail Monitor – Scotland:
  2. Underperformance on long distance and London and South East sectors was significant, even with factors outside of the company's control taken into account, such as extreme weather. For long distance services, ORR concluded that there were approximately 73,100 additional late trains over and above funded obligations between 2009 and 2014. For LSE, there were approximately 265,500 additional late trains over and above funded obligations between 2009 and 2014. ORR expects Network Rail to treat the regulator's enforcement as a clear signal to Network Rail management of the importance of performance delivery. ORR expects Network Rail to address the issues raised by its investigation.
  3. The scope of ORR's investigation also looked at the regional sector and freight.
    1. The regional sector was 1.0 percentage point below target. ORR's investigation and analysis showed that taking into account factors outside the Network Rail's control, particularly delays caused by train operators, the company would have achieved its obligations for 2013-14.
    2. Network Rail did not achieve its target for freight performance at the end of CP4. Performance was impacted by extreme weather and the impact of the Hatfield Colliery landslip which closed a main freight artery for almost five months in 2012-13. In light of all the circumstances, the ORR board decided not to penalise Network Rail's failure to meet its regulated output for freight.
  4. Operational performance investigations:
  5. Network Rail Monitor (England and Wales):