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Railhub Archive
1997-07-29 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Railtrack investment programme: Regulator publishes proposed new powers

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Railtrack investment programme: Regulator publishes proposed new powers

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Railtrack's investment programme: Increasing public accountability - consultation on proposed modification to Railtrack's Network Licence (ORR, 1997)


29 July 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/18

John Swift QC, the Rail Regulator, today published his proposed modification to Railtrack's Network Licence. This has been agreed by Railtrack and the Regulator is now carrying out the necessary statutory public consultation. The purpose of the modification is to strengthen Railtrack's accountability to the Rail Regulator for the delivery of its stewardship obligations, and to give the Regulator greater enforcement powers in the event that Railtrack fails to deliver the programme to which it has committed itself.

The modification to Railtrack's Licence introduces three key changes:

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.
In his consultation document, the Regulator says: "I have attached primary importance to establishing strong, measurable and enforceable obligations on Railtrack in respect of its investment and stewardship obligations."

"I believe that this mutually agreed modification to Railtrack's Network Licence represents an important step forward in properly addressing the public interest issues of accountability without prejudicing Railtrack's own ability to develop, fund and implement its own investment programme."

"I am now asking consultees whether they agree with my assessment of the reasons why additional regulatory powers are needed in respect of Railtrack's investment and stewardship obligations and whether they agree that the proposed Licence modification provides an appropriate way to address those concerns."

Notes to Editors:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. The consultation document - "Railtrack's Investment Programme : Increasing Public Accountability can be found on the Internet at Copies of the Document can also be obtained from Sue MacSwan at the ORR Library (Tel: 0171 282 2001 or e-mail on

4. 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. Before making the modifications, the Regulator must publish a notice stating:

that he proposes to make the modifications
the reasons why he proposes to make the modifications, and
stating the period (not less than 28 days) within which representations or objections with respect to the proposed modifications may be made.

The text of the Notice, which the Regulator has published today in respect of Railtrack's network Licence, is as follows:


The Rail Regulator ("the Regulator"), pursuant to section 12 (2) of the Railways Act 1993 (c.43) ("the Act") hereby gives notice as follows:-

(1) In respect of the network licence held by Railtrack PLC ("the licence holder") under section 8 of the Act he proposes to make two modifications :

(i) deleting the existing Condition 7 of the network licence; and

(ii) substituting a new Condition 7 relating to the duty of the licence holder in respect of the maintenance, renewal and enhancement of its network.

(2) The effect of the proposed new Condition is to impose a duty on the licence holder in respect of the maintenance, renewal and enhancement of the network, together with stations and depots operated by the licence holder or of which it is the landowner. In support of this duty the licence holder must publish the criteria it will apply to comply with the duty, an annual statement containing specified information on the way it expects to carry out its duty and an annual reconciliation of its actual performance. The Condition includes other ancillary provisions.

(3) The reason why the Regulator proposes to make these modifications is to increase the licence holder's public interest accountability for delivery of its investment obligations and for delivery of improved service quality and network capability.

(4) The effect of the modifications and the Regulator's reasons are set out in more detail in a consultation document which contains the proposed modifications which can be obtained (free of charge) from the address below or by telephone (0171-282-2001); fax (0171-282-2045); E-mail: orr @ dial.

(5) Any representations or objections to the proposed modifications may be made in writing on or before 9 September 1997 to David Chapman, Manager, Railtrack Regulation, at the Office of the Rail Regulator, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST.

29 July 1997

J Swift QC
Rail Regulator

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-07-29 ORR-001


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