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Railhub Archive
1998-06-02 ORR-002
Office of the Rail Regulator


Regulator proposes changes to rail timetabling process

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator proposes changes to rail timetabling process

related documents

1997-10-23 Regulator reviews procedures for timetabling trains (Office of the Rail Regulator)


2 June 1998
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/98/19

The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, today published the results of his review of the way in which the Railtrack network is timetabled. The review was conducted to see whether improvements could be made to the timetabling process to further the interests of rail users.

Mr Swift said: "Effective timetabling of the rail network is critical to the growth and development of rail services in the UK - both for passengers and for rail freight.

"The timetabling process has evolved significantly since its introduction to the benefit of all users - a process which has been led by the industry.

"My review has demonstrated that - by and large - the timetabling process has enabled the delivery of important benefits, such as new and innovative services. But there is still room for improvement in the important areas of cooperation and coordination in train planning, and for more effective involvement of passenger representatives and local authorities.

"I also want to see Railtrack taking a more proactive role in ensuring that the timetable is developed in the public interest to meet the needs of the users and potential users of the railway.

"There is a high expectation that passenger and freight user demand will continue to show substantial growth. Development of the timetable is thus essential to maximise the use of the scarce resource of railway infrastructure and to assist in its enhancement."

In the Statement, the Regulator calls for:

o improved cooperation and coordination between train operators and Railtrack intrain planning
o greater openness and transparency about new plans
o more effective involvement of passenger representatives and local authorities
o greater recognition of the particular needs of rail freight in the timetabling process.

Specific proposals include:

o a new, multilateral consultation process on timetable changes involving all train operators and Railtrack;
o a move to a simpler bidding process, with shortened timescales
o "best practice" guidance from the Franchising Director on consultation with the Rail Users Consultative Committees and local authorities;
o changes enabling Railtrack to maintain some flexibility in the timetable to respond quickly to new market needs, especially in relation to rail freight.

In addition, the Regulator has stream-lined the regulatory approval of short-term changes to access rights.

The key changes will now be taken forward, developed and implemented by the industry.

The Timetabling Process

1. The timetabling process under which train paths are timetabled on the rail network and which was introduced in 1994 is contained in Part D of the Railtrack Track Access Conditions, which are built into every track access agreement. The Track Access Conditions contain multilateral processes for, amongst other things, timetabling, handling disruption, and making changes to the network.

2. The timetabling process has been subject to a number of significant revisions, which have been led by the industry, taking account of experience of operating it, the needs of operators and users and the importance of efficient and effective timetabling in the public interest. However, the Regulator considered that it was appropriate for him to review how the process was going and, where appropriate, to suggest further improvements which might be made.

3. A number of the Regulator's proposals will require changes to the contractual process. These will now be considered in more detail by the industry under the democratic change process set out in the Track Access Conditions. The Regulator has stated that he wants to see the changes brought into effect in time for the planning process for the Summer 2000 timetable.

Copies of the document - The Timetabling of the Railtrack Network - and further information can be supplied by Sue MacSwan, Librarian, Office of the Rail Regulator, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138 - 142 Holborn, LONDON, EC1N 2ST. Telephone 0171 282 2001, Fax 0171 282 2045.

Railhub Archive ::: 1998-06-02 ORR-002


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