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Railhub Archive
1999-06-15 ORR-002
Office of the Rail Regulator


Regulator says rail industry faces testing time

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator says rail industry faces testing time

15 June 1999
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/99/22

Against a background of increasing passengers numbers and a halt to the decline in the carriage of freight by rail, the Rail Regulator says the rail industry faces a challenging year.

In his Annual Report for 1998-99, the Rail Regulator, Chris Bolt, says that better performance and greater efficiency would create both the climate for growth in rail services and the resources needed to achieve it.

"The next year will be a test of the industry's ability to deliver", he said.

In his report on the last year, the Regulator details many of the developments that are helping to create a more dynamic rail network. On the passenger side the document reports :

o the introduction of a licence modification to create enforceable obligations in the provision of accurate and timely information, know as T-12;
o the continuing enforcement order on the National Rail Enquiry Service to ensure it meets its response targets;
o the introduction of a new process requiring effective consultation between Railtrack and the train operating companies to begin with the Summer 2000 timetable;
o following an initial survey by ORR, the results of a second survey into accurate and impartial retailing conducted by the Association of Train Operating Companies but verified by the Regulator, showing an increase in retailing accuracy from 90 % in 1997 to over 94% in 1998.
o however, the same survey showed a decline in the standard of service to disabled passengers, dropping from 81% in 1997 to 41.6% in 1998;
o the report says the office intervened when a disabled passenger was stranded when her train terminated short of its destination. The passenger received nearly 200 compensation when the company admitted more could have been done to assist the passengers who were inconvenienced;
o in other cases, following the office's intervention, a train operator refunded passengers the taxi fares they had incurred after their trains had been delayed;
o as more people used the rail network, more people chose to complain: the ORR published figures showing train operators logged nearly over 540,000 complaints during the first six months of the year compared with some 960,000 for the whole of the previous year;
o during the reporting year, minutes delay caused by train operators worsened with a total increase of about 32%; for its part Railtrack under achieved by failing to meet a 7.5% improvement target in minutes delay per passenger train;
o one reason for Railtrack's failure, says the report, is that Southern, Great Western and Midlands zones all failed to match the previous year's performance.

Turning to freight, the report says the year saw further strong growth expected to be in the region of 13-15% in tonne/kilometres moved compared with a 12 % increase in the previous year.One of the key factors in maintaining the momentum was how Railtrack developed its network to meet the growing, as well as the current, needs of rail freight, it says.

Following a complaint from Fragonset Railways Ltd, the Regulator asked English Welsh and Scottish Railway Ltd to draw up a code of practice setting out its approach to disposal of locomotives resulting in all such disposals being conducted on an open tender basis without conditions as to their future use..

For freight traffic, Railtrack improved its performance over the year by meeting more than double its target figure of 7.5% for reducing delays caused by the company.

The full text of the report can be found on the ORR web site at :

PRESS ENQUIRIES : ORR Press Office : 0171 282 2002/2059.
(Out of office hours pager : 0941 148521)

Railhub Archive ::: 1999-06-15 ORR-002


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