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Railhub Archive
2000-05-17 RTK-001
Railtrack plc

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Railtrack announces end of year operating improvements


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Railtrack plc

Railtrack announces end of year operating improvements
_______________________________________________________________


date
17 May 2000
source Railtrack plc
type Press release



* Railtrack passenger train delays down 10% - now 44% below level of 95/96

* Investment up 16% to £2 billion - over twice the level of three years ago

* Reduction in broken rails - 4% year on year - 5% reduction in the fourth quarter

* Continued improvement in track quality - now only 1.2% short of the 2001 target

* Traffic growth continues with passenger kms up 4.9% and train kms up 3.5%

* Temporary speed restrictions down by 16%

* Signal repeat failures down by 21%

* Signals passed at danger down 12.2% to 595 - lowest ever recorded figure

Railtrack today announced its end of year operating statistics which include a decrease in the number of trains passing signals at danger (SPADs), a dramatic improvement in train performance, reductions in broken rails, temporary speed restrictions and repeat signal failures as well as improving track quality. All this whilst delivering the biggest programme of investment that the railway has undertaken for many years.

Safety

Railtrack's past year has been dominated by the tragic accident at Ladbroke Grove. Confidence in the rail industry was shaken and every aspect of safety was called into question. Railtrack is committed to ensuring that lessons learned are rapidly translated into action. Work has already started to accelerate the installation of the £330 million Train Protection Warning System to fit it throughout Railtrack infrastructure by the end of 2002. A National Safety Task Force has been established to facilitate and co-ordinate safety matters across the industry. A Confidential Safety Reporting System (CIRAS) is being rolled out nationally, best practice is being disseminated throughout the industry on prevention and mitigation of SPADs (Signals passed at Danger). Actions have been taken at the 224 signals most often passed at danger and all complex layouts have been risk assessed.

Signals passed at danger (SPADs)
It is of no comfort to those touched by the Ladbroke Grove accident that 99/00 saw the lowest ever number of Signals Passed at Danger (SPADs) with a 12.2% reduction to 595. This continues the downward trend in the number of SPADs despite a consistent rise in the number of trains in service.

Performance

This year's improvement in Railtrack attributed minutes delay for passenger trains was 10%. This is well above our own target of 7.5% but is short of the Regulator's target of 12.7% for the year. This should be set against a background of continuous growth which has seen passenger train kms grow by 4.9% over the last year. Railtrack's passenger delays are now 44% lower than four years ago. Railtrack's delays have fallen from 65% to 42% of the total.

At the start of the year Railtrack set itself the challenge of improving consistency of performance across its seven zones. The performance this year shows there is more to do, but it is encouraging that the gap between the best and worst performing zones has narrowed. Every zone improved, with the exception of London North Eastern, where difficulties at Leeds led to a decline of 2%. This needs to be set against last year's improvement in London North Eastern of 29%.

The 10% improvement in passenger delays fell short of the Regulator's target of 12.7% and he has indicated that he intends to roll up the shortfall with the 5% target for this year. This will not easily be achieved as further growth makes any improvement more difficult, but Railtrack will make every effort to rise to the challenge.

Despite this, the Regulator has also proposed a financial penalty of £4m for each 1% by which last year's target was missed. We have lodged a judicial appeal against the proposed level of the fine, which is felt to be disproportionate. While endorsing the Regulator's agenda Railtrack feels that an approach which could result in the largest fine in corporate history for an improvement of 10% needs challenging.

Investment

Railtrack increased its total investment (renewals and enhancement) on the infrastructure, including the value of work completed on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), to £2bn - more than double the level achieved three years ago and higher than anything ever achieved by British Rail. Section One of CTRL is now over 30% complete, on time and to budget. The Station Regeneration Programme is 87% complete, also within budget, and scheduled to be completed, on time, by the end of this financial year.

Track Quality

Track quality has improved over the last year and is now only 1.2% short of the 2001 target. Broken rails reduced by 4% as Railtrack's £100 million recovery programme, launched in 1999 to improve track quality and reduce broken rails, takes effect. The improvements have been achieved by a combination of increased track renewal, more frequent track recording, additional ultrasonic testing, more rail grinding, more stoneblowing and the installation of new technology to measure axle weights and condition on key points along the track as well as in the analysis of data.

Temporary Speed Restrictions (TSRs)

Temporary speed restrictions have been reduced by 15% thanks largely to the increased investment programme. The benefit of the removal of the temporary speed restrictions has also benefited our performance as it removes one of the barriers to punctuality on the railway.

Modernising Railtrack

Railtrack is continuing to search for better ways of working to meet today's challenges on a growing and improving railway. The modern management practices the company is adopting are bringing a new discipline and rigour to complement the wealth of railway experience. This began in 1998 with the formation of Area Delivery Groups who had the task of delivering performance improvements on their patch. They were given the data, the tools and the know-how to analyse and prioritise causes of delay. A similar approach is now being applied to other aspects of the business - the management of contractors including the development of new IMC 2000 contracts, delivery of investment, the delivery of major projects, asset management as well as generating greater value from the property portfolio.

Outlook

'It has been a dramatic year for Railtrack as we have continued to modernise the business to achieve improvements in our public service obligations and implement all the changes which the tragedy at Ladbroke Grove has highlighted as necessary' said Gerald Corbett, Chief Executive.

'Alongside delivering further safety improvements our priority is delivering our public service obligations as agreed with our regulator. There is much more to be done and we face many challenges over the coming year as the targets become tougher.'

Note to editors Railtrack's year end operating statistics are attached.

For more information, contact the Railtrack press office on 020 7557 8292/3
Railtrack has full ISDN broadcast facilities available. Interviews can normally be arranged on request.

All recent press releases can be found on the Railtrack web site at the following address: http://www.railtrack.co.uk/corporate/notice


Railtrack operating results for Financial Year 1999/2000:

Year End
Signals passed at danger
- Number 595
- % reduction against same
period last year 12%

Investment including CTRL
- £ million £2, 053
- % increase on last year 16%

% Improvement against same
period last year in Railtrack
attributed minutes delay
- Passenger 10%
- Freight 16%
- Total 11%

Broken Rails
- Number 917
- % Reduction against same 4%
period last year

Track Quality % short of 1.2%
2001 target

Repeat Signal Failure reduction 21%

Estimated growth in
passenger train miles % 3.5%


Railhub Archive ::: 2000-05-17 RTK-001





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