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1997-10-23 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator

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Regulator reviews procedures for timetabling trains


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Office of the Rail Regulator
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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator reviews procedures for timetabling trains
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related documents


The timetabling of the Railtrack network: A consultation document (ORR, 1997)

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date
23 October 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/28


The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, today launched a review of the process under which trains are timetabled on the national rail network. The timetabling process aims to provide a flexible framework for the development and timetabling of new and improved train services meeting the needs of passengers and freight customers.

In publishing his consultation document, Mr Swift said that the timetabling process for Railtrack's network, which was first introduced in 1994, had delivered important benefits to passengers, such as new and innovative train services, earlier timetabling of engineering works, and a substantially accurate published timetable.

Since 1994, a number of changes had been made by the industry to the process in order to better meet the needs of passengers and freight users. But the Regulator now aims to undertake a wider review of the process, seeking the views of all interested parties, to ensure the procedures properly reflect the public interest and to encourage further improvement.

The Regulator's consultation will focus on three key areas:

whether the processes of cooperation between train operators and consultation with passenger representatives are working effectively and whether they can be improved;
whether the timetabling process delivers the necessary public interest benefits; and
how the link between the timetabling process and the process by which the Regulator approves new or amended access rights can be improved.
The timetabling arrangements have evolved significantly in the light of experience, and Mr Swift welcomed this process of continuous improvement. He said: "I believe the time is now right for me to review the operation of the processes, not to rewrite them, but to see what further improvements can be made.

"I hope that this consultation document will stimulate proposals from Railtrack and from operators further to improve the process. Train operators must continue to work together, and with Railtrack, to deliver further benefits. Railtrack has a key responsibility in maximising the use of capacity and the proactive development of new service opportunities.

"I also want to ensure that the significant role to be played by the Rail Users' Consultative Committees is properly recognised".



Notes to Editors

1. Train operators seek access to Railtrack's rail network under contracts called access agreements, which have to be approved by the Regulator. Generally, these access agreements do not set out a detailed timetable of train services, but instead define an "envelope" of access rights. Train operators specify to Railtrack the train services they would like to run in the timetable, which must be consistent with their access rights. Railtrack then allocates train slots on the network through the timetabling process set out in Part D of Railtrack's Track Access Conditions (which are incorporated into every track access agreement).

2. The timetabling process is a consultative one, which has the following key features:

the production by Railtrack of initial timetable parameters, including details of engineering works proposed;
a bidding process during which train operators bid for train paths consistent with their access rights and Railtrack allocates capacity on the basis of public interest decision criteria;
an appeal process to settle disputes; and
the production, and ultimately publication, of the timetable by Railtrack.
Two principal timetables are produced each year (in late May/early June and in September), each the result of a separate development process. Spare capacity during the currency of a timetable is allocated through a separate "spot bidding" process.

3. Effective cooperation between train operators, and consultation with the Rail Users' Consultative Committees, is important to ensure the timetable properly meets the needs of users (for example, in the timetabling of connections).

4. "The Timetabling of the Railtrack Network: A Consultation Document" is available from: Sue MacSwan, ORR Library, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST(Tel: 0171 282 2001; Fax: 0171 282 2045; or e-mail orr@dial.pipex.com).


Railhub Archive ::: 1997-10-23 ORR-001





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