Industrial action has affected performance, but delays caused by Network Rail have also increased. To reverse this trend, sustained focus from the company is needed in three important areas – improving asset reliability, working with operators to build more resilient timetables, and making sure that, when things do go wrong, services can be recovered quickly. At the regulator’s request Network Rail has produced improvement plans which the ORR will monitor the company against.
ORR’s annual assessment also shows that positively, Network Rail has delivered over £900 million of efficiency savings. However, its wider financial performance has been hit by costs of industrial action, payments to operators for poor train performance, and inflationary pressures.
Network Rail’s delivery of work to renew its assets varied by region, and performance of its infrastructure declined, except in Scotland. Delays to train services due to track asset issues increased. This was partly due to the hot weather in July 2022 which caused the ground underneath the track to dry out in some locations and Network Rail imposed speed restrictions to ensure safety was not compromised.
Feras Alshaker, Director, Planning & Performance said: