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Railhub Archive
2001-03-20 ORR-002
Office of the Rail Regulator


Regulator's acts to improve Railtrack's weak network knowledge

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Office of the Rail Regulator

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator's acts to improve Railtrack's weak network knowledge

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20 March 2001
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/05/01

The Rail Regulator, Tom Winsor, today set out how he intends to require Railtrack to establish and maintain a comprehensive and reliable register of its assets. The register must include information on the condition, capability and capacity of the company's assets, and has been widely supported by the rail industry since the Regulator proposed a licence modification in September 2000. Railtrack has accepted this licence modification and, subject to consideration of any representations made during the 28-day statutory consultation period, the new condition will be incorporated into Railtrack's network licence next month.

Commenting on this strengthening of Railtrack's licence, Tom Winsor said:

"For too long, Railtrack has lacked crucial information about its own network, and has failed to organise and disseminate the information it does have in an accessible, consistent and efficient way. If, after the Hatfield derailment, Railtrack had had the information which this licence condition requires it to possess, the disintigration of the integrity of the operation of the network - with over a thousand temporary speed restrictions imposed all over the country - could have been prevented. Railtrack has had two aborted attempts at establishing an asset register, and in view of the importance of reliable information about the network, it cannot be left to the discretion of the company to determine how and when this work will be completed. The public interest requires regulatory supervision, and the licence condition which I intend to put in place will achieve that.

"Many other companies and organisations - in the private sector and in the public sector - have a strong interest in Railtrack having this information, to the appropriate standard and accessible as necessary. Within the industry, passenger and freight train operators, rolling stock manufacturers and leasing companies, funders (including the Strategic Rail Authority and the Passenger Transport Executives), and others need Railtrack to look after and enhance the network competently and efficiently. The Health and Safety Executive has emphasised the importance of asset knowledge for the safety of the network. The passenger and the freight user - the people for whom the network exists - have a paramount interest in ensuring that Railtrack's stewardship of the network is sound."

Notes for editors

1. The Regulator's original proposals for a licence modification requiring Railtrack to establish and maintain an asset register were set out in Consultation on proposed modifications to Railtrack's network licence, Office of the Rail Regulator, London, September 2000. The original consultation document, Consultation on proposed modifications to Railtrack's network licence: Asset register and dependent persons, and today’s document Notice of modification to Railtrack's network licence: Asset register are available here 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:
2. Following a consultation period ending on 17 April 2001, the Regulator expects to modify Railtrack's network licence requiring it to establish and maintain an asset register, subject to considering any representations made during the 28 -day statutory consultation period beginning today.
Press Enquiries

ORR Press Office: 020 7282 2002/2007
Out of hours: pager 07659 127303

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-03-20 ORR-002


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