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Railhub Archive
1999-11-05 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator

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Regulator acts on Railtrack's plans for the West Coast Main Line


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West Coast Main Line
Office of the Rail Regulator
ORR
*WCML1998



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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator acts on Railtrack's plans for the West Coast Main Line
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related documents


West Coast Main Line: statement by the Regulator (ORR, 1999)

1999-11-25 Railtrack response to the Rail Regulator's stewardship of the network document (Railtrack plc)

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date
5 November 1999
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/99/48


PLEASE NOTE: Tom Winsor, the Rail Regulator and Mike Grant of the Shadow
Strategic Rail Authority will host a joint press briefing at 10.00hrs on
Friday,5 November 1999 at the Office of the Rail Regulator, 1 Waterhouse
Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2TQ.

The Rail Regulator, Tom Winsor, today began enforcement action demanding that
Railtrack produce robust plans to meet its commitments to additional capacity
as part of the upgrade and improvement of the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

Commenting on the action, Tom Winsor said: 'Railtrack declined to give the
undertakings I consider necessary for it to comply with its licence
obligations, and so I am initiating enforcement action. The proposed
enforcement order is designed to end uncertainty about the future of this
strategically important line by ensuring that Railtrack meets the commitments
it made. It also requires Railtrack to provide the Shadow Strategic Rail
Authority and train operators with the information they need for decisions on
the development and use of the network, in the interests of passengers,
freight users and taxpayers.

'By failing to complete adequate strategic reviews, despite undertaking to do
so by March this year, Railtrack is likely to breach its network licence. It
is likely to commit a further breach if it cannot demonstrate how it will
provide the additional capacity on the WCML it has committed to provide by
2005.

'Railtrack's plans to upgrade the WCML were approved by the then Rail
Regulator on 8 June 1998 on the basis that they would provide additional
capacity for all passenger and freight operators, as well as allowing Virgin
Trains to run faster and more frequent services with new tilting trains. The
project has the potential to bring about a step change in frequency and
reliability in services between major cities on the WCML.

'Both the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority and train operators have expressed
concern that the project plans produced by Railtrack do not demonstrate that
Railtrack can provide this capacity, nor are the reviews sufficiently detailed
or robust to facilitate decisions on the future development of the WCML.
These concerns are underscored by the admissions made by Railtrack to me that
further work is required. I am not satisfied with the progress of this work,
nor am I persuaded that Railtrack can produce credible plans before it has
taken key decisions on the signalling system to be employed on the WCML
upgrade.

'Today's first step in the enforcement process requires Railtrack to take the
following steps by 29 February 2000 to secure compliance with its network
licence:

- to publish its strategy for routing freight traffic to and from destinations
reached on or via the WCML, in order to meet the ten-year projections of
freight train operators;

- to publish the costs of implementing feasible options identified in the
freight routing strategy;

- to publish provisional timetables demonstrating how Railtrack can meet its
undertakings to provide additional capacity on the WCML upon completion of the
final phase of the upgrade in 2005;

- to publish plans and timetables for any works needed to provide that
additional capacity;

- to submit alternative proposals to the Regulator if it asserts that it is no
longer obliged to comply with its undertakings to provide additional capacity;
and

- to publish adequate strategic reviews of the scope for further development
of the WCML, including costed options for meeting the stated requirements of
train operators and funders.
' I am requiring Railtrack to demonstrate robustly that it can meet the
undertakings it gave in June 1998. I expect Railtrack to heed this warning.
If Railtrack lets down train operators and funders, it will face even stronger
enforcement action, including the possibility of a monetary penalty. Railtrack
and interested parties now have until 10 December to comment on the draft
order before I decide whether to finalise it.'

A copy of the draft enforcement order is available from the ORR Librarian, Sue
MacSwan, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2TQ.Tel: 0171 282
2001;fax:0171 282 2045; e-mail:orr@dial.pipex.com. The document can also be
found on the ORR website.

Notes for editors
1. The Passenger Upgrade 2 ('PUG2') track access agreement between
Railtrack and West Coast Trains Ltd was approved by the Regulator in 8 June
1998 on the basis that it would provide additional capacity for all passenger
and freight operators, as well as allowing Virgin Trains to run faster and
more frequent services with new tilting trains. The project has the potential
to bring about a step change in frequency and reliability in services between
major cities on the WCML.
2. Today's action is the first step in the enforcement process under
section 56 of the Railways Act 1993. It is not the making of the final order.
A period of consultation lasting until 10 December 1999 now takes place. In
that period, Railtrack and others have the opportunity to comment on the
proposed order. In the light of responses to consultation, the Regulator will
make his decision on the enforcement action which will be taken.
3. A copy of the statutory notice announcing the Rail Regulator's
intention to make an enforcement order, which includes a statement of the
Regulator's reasons for taking this action, is attached.
4. The purpose of Condition 7 of Railtrack's network licence is to
secure '...the improvement, enhancement and development of the network...'
'so as to satisfy the reasonable requirements of persons providing services
for the carriage of passengers or goods by railway and funders in respect of
the quality and capability of the network'.
5. The last Regulator formally requested Railtrack's plans to deliver
its commitments to provide additional capacity on the WCML, on 2 June 1999
(ORR Press Notice ORR/99/20).


Railhub Archive ::: 1999-11-05 ORR-001





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