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Railhub Archive
2000-01-20 RTK-001
Railtrack plc


Railtrack announces third quarter operating improvements

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Railtrack plc

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Railtrack plc

Railtrack announces third quarter operating improvements

20 January 2000
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

3rd Quarter Operating Statistics

Third Quarter - 1

*Passenger train performance - 9% improvement year to date
*Reduction in broken rails - 8% year to date - 19% reduction in the third quarter
*Signals passed at danger (SPADs) down by 11% year to date - 26% reduction in the third quarter.
Reduction in signals passed at danger remains the industry's prime objective
*6% improvement in track quality
*Traffic growth continues
*34% increase in investment in the quarter, bringing the total to date to £1,432m - a record for Railtrack
*Railtrack not to submit a bid for any of the PPP (Public Private Partnerships) on the London Underground.
*Drive for improvements means profit before tax to be broadly in line with last year

Railtrack today announced improved operating statistics - better train performance, reductions in broken rails, better track quality and increasing investment - for the third quarter and year to date.

This demonstrates the company's commitment to meeting its public service obligations and delivering on the agenda set by the Rail Regulator.

As a consequence of the programmes required to generate these improvements, it is expected that this year's profit before tax will be broadly in line with last year's.

The year to date improvement in Railtrack attributed minutes delay for passenger trains is 9%, reflecting the improvement programmes put in place last year (98/99) and earlier this financial year.

This is above our own target of 7.% and provides a good base for meeting our proposed target for next year of 5%.

The key initiative has been the formation of area delivery groups which has significantly increased focus and local accountability.

Improvement in the third quarter was 5%.

Although the company's special autumn initiatives were successful, with performance in October considerably better than last year, the result was affected by three particularly bad days (1 Nov, 3 Dec and 20 Dec) when approaching 300,000 minutes of delay were incurred representing nearly five times the yearly daily average and over 5% of the annual total.

The delays on these days were caused by a combination of bad weather leading to a quantity of incidents that resulted in a series of consequential delays.

Despite the improvement in performance, the Regulator's target of 12.7% for the year now looks particularly difficult and will require an outstanding last quarter if it is to be met.

The £100 million recovery programme, launched by Railtrack in 1999 to improve track quality and to address the issue of broken rails, is beginning to have an effect. However, it is clear there is more that needs to be done.

Accordingly a series of additional measures will provide for more frequent track recording, more frequent Ultrasonic Test Unit runs, more rail grinding and the installation of Wheelchex equipment (a measure of axle weight and condition on key points along the track which will help reduce the damage done by sub-standard wheels).

To help deliver this programme we are upgrading our computer systems and our track recording units and investing in two rail grinding trains, a new ultrasonic testing unit and three more stoneblowers (taking the fleet to 13).

The rail industry has a series of on-going initiatives to reduce the risk of trains passing signals at danger and the reducing trend reflects these actions and is to be welcomed. Safety is the absolute priority and the reduction in signals passed at danger is the industry's prime objective.

Railtrack's improvement in performance is against the background of yet further growth on the network. There has been a year to date estimated increase of 3.3% in passenger train miles.

Each 1% increase typically leads to a 2.5% increase in minutes delay, based on congestion models.

Railtrack is on target to deliver £2 billion of investment for the financial year, ending on March 31st 2000, an increase of 16% on the previous year. This is double the level of investment of three years ago.

The third quarter at £488 million was the largest investment ever by Railtrack and the rising trend will be continued to the end of the financial year.

Railtrack has decided not to submit a bid for any of the PPP (Public Private Partnerships) on the London Underground. Railtrack however, will continue to actively explore the integration opportunities surrounding the East London line and, on a longer time frame, the opportunities for improving services from the west of London.

The increase in costs incurred this year in striving to meet the Regulator's targets will impact on this year's profit before tax, which will be broadly in line with last year's.

'At Railtrack we are determined to meet our public service obligations' said Gerald Corbett, Railtrack Chief Executive.

'Our performance has improved, broken rails are reducing, track quality is getting better, growth is healthy and investment is significantly up. The operating improvements show that we are beginning to make real progress. However, we recognise there is more to do. A series of further programmes have been developed, including a further increase in investment to meet these needs.

The delivery of outputs set by the Regulator is right at the top of Railtrack's agenda.'

- ends -

Third quarter and year-to-date operating statistics are as follows:

Periods 8-10 Periods 1-10 inclusive
------------- -----------------------
% Improvement against same period last year in Railtrack attributed minutes delay
- Passenger 5% 9%
- Freight 17% 14%
- Total 7% 10%

Broken Rails
- Number
291 608
- % Reduction against same period last year
19% 8%

Track Quality % improvement against same period last year - 6%

Signals passed at danger
- Number
121 476
- % reduction against same period last year
26% 11%

Estimated growth in passenger train miles %
2.6% 3.3%

Investment include CTRL
- £million 488 1,432
- % increase against same period last year
34% 21%

- £million 405 1,149
- % increase against same period last year
26% 7%

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-01-20 RTK-001


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