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Railhub Archive
1999-04-16 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator announces new licence proposals for earlier timetable information

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Office of the Rail Regulator

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator announces new licence proposals for earlier timetable information

16 April 1999
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/99/13

Chris Bolt, the Rail Regulator, has published proposals for a licence modification which will compel Railtrack and train operators to provide early information about timetable alterations. Commenting today on this new licence modification, Chris Bolt said:

"It is good news for passengers that the railway industry is now willing to accept enforceable licence obligations to provide timetable information at least twelve weeks in advance of any journey. This will also enable other information, such as fares, and seat reservations to be available in good time. This is an important consumer benefit, especially at busy holiday periods, to which the industry gave its commitment at the National Rail Summit in February. I shall expect all passenger operators and Railtrack to comply and will act swiftly if earlier problems recur."

The rail industry gave a commitment to make timetable information available twelve weeks in advance of each day of travel (the T minus 12 commitment), but problems have occurred with the delivery of this commitment. These problems reached a head last Christmas when some parts of the train timetable for certain operators were not ready until as little as two or three weeks before the holidays.

The Regulator wrote to Railtrack and train operators seeking the reasons for the failure, asking them to take urgent action to mitigate the impact on passengers, and to put things right for the future. Action was indeed taken where it was necessary, and the industry is now generally delivering its commitment.

The Regulator subsequently published a consultation document seeking views on whether he should amend the operating licences of Railtrack and train operators to make T-12 an enforceable licence commitment. There was overwhelming support for the Regulator's proposals.

The Regulator has now agreed with Railtrack and train operators the licence modifications necessary to achieve this objective. Before bringing these modifications into force, the Regulator is required to undertake a statutory 28 day consultation process and to take account of representations received. That process has now commenced, and representations should be received by the Regulator by Friday 14 May 1999.

Notes for editors:

1. The text of the statutory notice is attached.

2. 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.
In the absence of consent, the Regulator may refer the matter to the Competition Commission.

3. Copies of this document are available from Sue MacSwan, ORR library, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2TQ. (Tel: 0171 282 2001; Fax : 0171 282 2045; e-mail : and from the ORR website at

ORR Press Office - 282 2007/2002
Out of office hours - Pager 0941 148521

Notice under section 12(2) of the Railways Act 1993

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 of Railtrack PLC ("the network licence") and the passenger licences which have been issued to each of the franchise operators (other than Island Line Limited) and Heathrow Express Limited ("the passenger licences") all under section 8 of the Act he proposes to make the following modifications:

(i) by amending Condition 8 (Timetabling) of the network licence; and

(ii) by amending the Condition entitled "Timetabling" in each of the passenger licences (being Condition 9 in the template form of licence for passenger operators).

(2) The amendments to the network licence require Railtrack PLC to plan to enable temporary changes to the timetable for repair, maintenance and enhancement works to be specified and resulting timetable change procedures to be completed by 12 weeks before the change takes effect; to provide access to information about the changes to specified persons; to comply with certain procedures in carrying out these obligations and as to circumstances in which delay in compliance does not breach the obligation.

(3) The amendments to the passenger licences require the licence holder to comply with certain procedures in carrying out its obligations in relation to Railtrack PLC's performance of the obligations referred to in paragraph (2) and to make specified information available to passengers within a specified period.

(4) The reason why the Regulator proposes to make the modifications is to establish clear obligations on each licence holder in respect of the process to make changes to the national timetable arising from engineering works so that normally the revised timetable will be available 12 weeks before it applies and associated information (such as fares) will be available within the following three weeks.

(5) A copy of the draft proposed modifications can be obtained (free of charge) from the address below or by telephone (0171-282 2001); fax (0171-282 2045); e-mail:

(6) Any representations or objections to the proposed modifications may be made in writing on or before 14 May 1999 to the Regulator at the Office of the Rail Regulator, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2TQ, ref: D Chapman.

Director, Network Regulation
duly authorised by the Rail Regulator

Railhub Archive ::: 1999-04-16 ORR-001


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