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Railhub Archive
2000-07-28 ORR-002
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator demonstrates year of action in Annual Report 2000

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator demonstrates year of action in Annual Report 2000

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28 July 2000
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/00/24 (national version of ORR/00/23)

The Rail Regulator, Tom Winsor, published his first annual report today. It charts the progress of work following a dynamic regulatory agenda launched when he took office a year ago.

Work in the year to 31 March 2000 covers a period of intense activity stemming from a policy of tougher and more effective regulation with proportionate use of regulatory powers to meet and promote the public interest.

'The annual report shows the progress made by holding the railway companies much more closely to account for the discharge of their public interest obligations,' says Tom Winsor. 'It has been a period of hard work and firm action aimed at realising the potential of the railway industry as a partnership between the private and public sectors.

'The rail network is a precious asset and needs to be maintained and developed to a high standard. Independent regulation helps to deliver this outcome while allowing rail companies also to pursue their legitimate business objectives. Much has been achieved this year and we're set to build on that by keeping these aims firmly within our sight'.

The most significant work of the year has been on the periodic review of Railtrack's access charges. The periodic review determines the financial framework by which Railtrack charges for the use of the network by franchised train operators. It also contains a new regime under which Railtrack will be incentivised to enhance the network. (See notes for editors and report paras 3.1 - 3.12).

Other achievements of the regulatory year, covered in the report, are:

Railtrack performance: Enforcement action, taken on 25 November 1999 to secure a 12.7% reduction in delays per passenger train by holding Railtrack to performance promises, resulted in a 10% improvement in this key area of network stewardship. To incentivise achievement of the target the Regulator set a penalty of £4 million per percentage point for any shortfall. (Report paras 2.8 - 2.10)

West Coast Main Line: A final enforcement order was made on 5 May 2000 requiring Railtrack to provide essential information regarding capacity and capability on the West Coast. (Report paras 2.15 - 2.18)

Safety: The Regulator cooperated fully with the inquiries into the Southall and Ladbroke Grove accidents and has participated in a review of train regulation policy, discussions on funding research and an interim review of Railtrack's role in safety. ORR continues to strengthen its relationship with the Health and Safety executive and sought its advice on various issues. (Report paras 2.25 - 2.28).

Track quality: The rising trend in broken rails (from a figure of 756 in 1997/98 to 927 in 1998/99) is clear evidence of failing asset management by Railtrack, and has led to action being taken to monitor progress toward meeting track quality improvement targets by 2001. (Report paras 2.11 - 2.14)

In addition:

o decisions have been taken concerning the approval of, and amendments to, access agreements between Railtrack and the train operators (report paras 2.20 - 2.24);
o guidelines were issued explaining the regulatory powers of the Competition Act 1998, which came into force on 1 March 2000, and how it applies to the railway industry (report paras 4.40 - 4.42);
o a major freight survey was launched to determine barriers to choosing rail as a mode of transport for freight and Railtrack is being encouraged to develop its freight routing strategy (report paras 2.38 - 2.42): and * the Regulator has begun the development of standard clauses that can be incorporated into all access agreements. (Report paras 3.13 - 3.17)

A copy of the Annual Report (text only version) is available from this website or 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: orr@dial.pipex.com. Details of the conclusions of the periodic review (were announced yesterday Thursday 27 July 2000 - see ORR press notice ORR/00/22.

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-07-28 ORR-002


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