Office of the Rail Regulator
Broad support for West Coast Main Line enforcement action
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Broad support for West Coast Main Line enforcement action
type Press release
The Rail Regulator, Tom Winsor, today served a final order requiring
Railtrack to produce plans and options for the West Coast Main Line upgrade.
Tom Winsor said: 'This information is needed to establish whether Railtrack's
plans for the West Coast Main Line upgrade are sufficient to meet the
reasonable requirements of train operators and funders, and to provide an
opportunity to identify additional enhancements which they may wish to
procure. Railtrack must provide this information in order to avoid breaching
its network licence.'
The order requires Railtrack to demonstrate the extent to which its present
plans for the West Coast Main Line Route Modernisation would meet the capacity
commitments which it gave to the Regulator in April 1998, and to state what
further works would be required to meet those commitments in full. In
addition, Railtrack must also complete strategic reviews of options for
further improvements to the capacity and capability of the West Coast Main
Since publishing the notice in March under section 56 of the Railways Act
1993, explaining the reasons for his proposal to make a final order against
Railtrack, the Regulator has received strong support for his enforcement
action from funding bodies, including the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority,
train operators, and from passengers' representatives.
As part of the periodic review of Railtrack's access charges, the Regulator
is also reviewing the costs associated with the West Coast Main Line, and he
intends to consult on these costs in June.
Notes to Editors
1. Today's final order requires Railtrack to prepare and provide to the
(a) by 22 May 2000:
(i) a specimen timetable for the WCML demonstrating the capacity that would be
provided by works which Railtrack has proposed should be carried out; and
(ii) a statement of any shortfall in capacity between that provided by the
timetable in sub-paragraph (i) and the capacity commitments it previously
gave, as modified by agreement with relevant train operators, together with an
explanation of the works that would be required to meet those modified
capacity commitments; and
(b) adequate strategic reviews setting out costed specifications for meeting
the stated requirements of train operators and funders.
2. The Regulator is required before making a final enforcement order
with modifications, either:
(a) to obtain the consent of Railtrack to the modifications; or
(b) if Railtrack does not consent:
(i) to serve on Railtrack such notice as appears to him requisite of his
proposal to make the order with modifications;
(ii) in that notice to specify the period (not being less than 28 days from
the date of the publication of the notice) within which representations with
respect to the proposed order may be made; and
(iii) consider any representations or objections which are duly made and not
3. On 5 November 1999 the Rail Regulator began enforcement action
demanding that Railtrack produce robust plans to meet its commitments to
additional capacity as part of the upgrade and improvement of the West Coast
Main Line (WCML). (ORR Press Notice - ORR/99/48) After months of discussion
Railtrack refused to agree a subsequent modified enforcement order requiring
the company's plans for the West Coast Main Line upgrade, giving the Rail
Regulator, Tom Winsor, no alternative but to press on with enforcement action
and go through a second statutory consultation process.
4. On 27 March 2000 the Rail Regulator published a notice relating to
the WCML upgrade under section 56 of the Railways Act 1993. This can be seen
on the ORR's website (http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk) or in the ORR library.
5. Representations received by the Regulator in response to consultation, with
the exception of annex 3 to Railtrack's response and Eurostar's response which
are both confidential, may be seen on the ORR's website
(http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk) or in the ORR library.
6. The Passenger Upgrade 2 ('PUG2') track access agreement between Railtrack
and West Coast Trains Ltd was approved by the Regulator in 8 June 1998 on the
basis that it would provide additional capacity for all passenger and freight
operators, as well as allowing Virgin Trains to run faster and more frequent
services with new tilting trains. The project has the potential to bring about
a step change in frequency and reliability in services between major cities on
7. The Regulator's action today is enforcement of Railtrack's network licence
obligations. The purpose of Condition 7 of Railtrack's network licence is to
secure the improvement, enhancement and development of the network so as to
satisfy the reasonable requirements of persons providing services for the
carriage of passengers or goods by railway and funders in respect of the
quality and capability of the network.
8. The last Regulator formally requested Railtrack's plans to deliver its
commitments to provide additional capacity on the WCML, on 2 June 1999 (ORR
Press Notice ORR/99/20).
9. The order does not include a requirement to provide a freight routing
strategy. The Regulator has received a freight routing strategy document from
Railtrack, and he is studying it to see whether it demonstrates compliance
with the network licence.
10. The West Coast Main Line (WCML) upgrade is planned in two phases: the
first phase is intended to allow new tilting trains to run on the WCML up to
125 mph from 1 May 2002. The second phase is intended to allow the trains to
run up to 140 mph by 1 May 2005.
A copy of the final enforcement order is available from the ORR Librarian, Sue
MacSwan, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2TQ.Tel: 020
7282 2001;fax:020 7282 2045; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org. The document can also
be found on the ORR website: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/.
PRESS ENQUIRIES: ORR Press Office: 020 7282 2002/2007
Out of Office Hours: Pager 07659 127303
Railhub Archive ::: 2000-05-04 ORR-001