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Railhub Archive
1997-09-26 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Railtrack investment programme: overwhelming support for Regulator's new powers

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Railtrack investment programme: overwhelming support for Regulator's new powers

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26 September 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/24

Railtrack's Network Licence was modified today, following overwhelming support for tough new powers for the Rail Regulator.

The Regulator, John Swift QC, said, "I am pleased to report that consultees expressed unanimous support for the principle that I should have additional powers in respect of Railtrack's obligations as steward of the network. With the implementation of this new licence condition, to which it had agreed, Railtrack is entering a new regulatory environment. It is one which will require Railtrack to make a significant commitment towards greater openness, transparency and partnership in its investment programme, and to measurable delivery of its obligations."

The modification to Railtrack's licence introduces unchanged the three key proposals consulted on in July:

First, it establishes a new General Duty on Railtrack in respect of the maintenance, renewal and development of the rail network and a series of further detailed and enforceable obligations in support of this duty.
Second, it gives the Regulator powers of investigation and enforcement if Railtrack fails to deliver without good reason.
Third, it explicitly establishes obligations on Railtrack both to consult with train operators and funders and to meet their reasonable expectations to the greatest extent reasonably practicable.
Mr Swift continued, "I expect Railtrack to demonstrate its commitment to these new obligations in:

the consultation processes it undertakes and the way in which this consultation is reflected in its Network Management Statement and Business Plan;
the criteria which it is now required to publish setting out what train operators and funding bodies can expect from it, how decisions will be made and priorities decided, and the expected outcome in terms of the improved quality and reliability of the network;
the level of detail and the usefulness of the Network Management Statement itself; and
the timely and efficient delivery of those plans to the ultimate benefit of passengers and freight users.
"These are all matters over which Railtrack has control and it is now up to Railtrack to deliver on its new obligations. Failure to deliver will result in Railtrack being called to account - to me, to its customers and funders, and to the public. The new licence condition gives me the necessary investigatory and enforcement powers to give effect to that public accountability."

Notes to editors

1. Under section 12 of the Railways Act 1993, the Regulator may modify the conditions of a licence if the licence holder consents to the modifications. If the licence holder does not agree, under section 13 of the Act the Regulator may make a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

2. On 21 May 1997, the Regulator published a statement (Railtrack's Investment Programme, Office of the Rail Regulator, May 1997), in response to Railtrack's 1997 Network Management Statement, in which he announced his intention to consider strengthening Railtrack's obligations to ensure it achieves three key purposes: timely maintenance of the railway network; timely renewal and replacement of the network in modern equivalent form; and the improvement, enhancement and development of the network. The Statement explained that the Regulator had commenced discussions with Railtrack to seek to agree an appropriate modification to Railtrack's Network Licence.

3. On 26 June 1997, the Regulator and Railtrack issued a Joint Statement that Railtrack had confirmed its agreement to work with the Regulator to produce a mutually agreed licence amendment which would give effect to its public accountability, as the owner of the nation's railway infrastructure, for its network management plans and for the delivery of output measures to be agreed between the Regulator and Railtrack, and provide powers of enforcement should Railtrack fail to deliver those plans for no good reason.

4. On 29 July 1997 the Regulator published a consultation document (Railtrack's Investment Programme: Increasing Public Accountability) on the proposed licence modification. This sought views on the Regulator's assessment of the reasons why additional powers were needed, and on whether the proposed modification was the appropriate way to meet those concerns.

5. The Regulator's response to the consultation, Railtrack's Investment Programme: Implementation of New Licence Condition, is published today. This is available, as are previously mentioned documents, from Sue MacSwan, ORR Library, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST. (Tel: 0171 282 2001; Fax: 0171 282 2045; E-mail:

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-09-26 ORR-001


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