The regulator finds fewer trains are arriving on time and an increase in cancellations compared to the start of this financial year.
The percentage of trains arriving on time at stations was 70.2% in September 2022, compared to 72.6% in April 2022.
National freight performance is also at its lowest point for the last five years.
ORR recognises that factors such as extreme weather, issues with train company staffing and industrial action have impacted the network beyond Network Rail’s control.
And there are areas where Network Rail has made good progress, which ORR expects to continue, including on resilience to extreme weather events and on measures designed to reduce fatalities, trespass and theft.
But delays which are attributed to Network Rail have increased in all five of its regions. To deliver better performance for passengers and freight, ORR has therefore identified five areas where Network Rail can, and must, do more.
- In the Wales and Western region, poor performance is in part due to poor reliability of railway infrastructure, in particular its track assets. The regulator required the region to produce an improvement plan and is actively monitoring its delivery. ORR will step in if the planned improvements are not delivered.
- Track asset reliability also needs to improve in the North West and Central region.
- The Eastern region needs to improve the resilience of its overhead lines to prevent failure and subsequent disruption to passengers and freight.
- Renewal of track on the Thameslink ‘core’, the lines that carry trains between north and south London in the Southern region is needed following several infrastructure failures during the summer that led to a high volume of significant incidents, cancellations and delays.
- Finally, delivery of performance improvement plans in Scotland need to continue to bring performance levels back to acceptable levels.
ORR Chief Executive John Larkinson said:
Notes to Editors
- Mid-year performance letter to Network Rail
- The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) holds Network Rail to account for its management of the GB rail network, monitoring how it operates the network to keep trains running on time, and how it keeps the network safe and in good condition.