Press releases

Rail regulator launches investigation into Wales & Western train performance

29 November 2023
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today launched an investigation into poor train punctuality and reliability in the Network Rail Wales & Western region.
Cover Image
Track views from Cardiff Central station

Train performance in the Wales & Western region has continued to deteriorate while the wider network across Great Britain has seen performance stabilising. 

While ORR’s investigation will focus on Network Rail, the regulator recognises that delivery of reliable, punctual trains requires cross-industry collaboration. As part of its investigation the regulator will convene a roundtable of parties who directly contribute to delivering train performance in the region. Bringing together Network Rail, train operating companies, freight operators, and other bodies, ORR will work to ensure a joined-up approach to identifying the measures required to improve performance for passengers and freight in the Wales & Western region.

ORR’s investigation will assess whether Network Rail is complying with its licence obligations in the Wales & Western region, and whether it is doing everything reasonably practicable to deliver train service performance. This will include the regulator reviewing the effectiveness of the region’s performance improvement plan, whether assets are being managed appropriately and the impact of changes to the rail network on train performance.

Based on its investigation, ORR will determine whether or not there is more that Network Rail could be doing and may decide on appropriate measures, which could include enforcement action. 

Feras Alshaker, Director, Performance and Planning, said:

“While Network Rail has begun making good progress in stabilising performance elsewhere on the network, performance in the Wales & Western region has continued to deteriorate, meaning poor reliability and punctuality for passengers and freight.

“Our investigation will take a detailed look at the root causes of the region’s performance issues and will consider wider contributing factors. As part of our work we will convene a roundtable with key players in the region to support Network Rail in taking pragmatic and effective action to improve performance for all the region’s rail users.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Network Rail’s Wales & Western region extends from London Paddington to Penzance via Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth in the Western route and transports commuters to key locations such as Cardiff and Swansea in the Wales route.
  2. Most passenger rail services in the Wales & Western region are operated by Great Western Railway, Transport for Wales, MTR Crossrail and CrossCountry. Rail freight services are also critical, moving various commodities within the region and beyond.
  3. Investigation letter