Network Rail gives warm welcome to DfT review
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Network Rail gives warm welcome to DfT review
date 19 January 2004
source Network Rail
Network Rail today warmly welcomed the announcement by the Department for Transport of a review of the structure and regulation of the rail industry. We hope the review will support the early improvements in train punctuality which have been seen recently and Network Rail intends to play a positive role in the consultation process.
The Secretary of State made clear that the structure of Network Rail will not be reviewed as part of this process. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Darling said: “The first stage of reform was to set up Network Rail… the second stage is to streamline the remaining structure of the railway.”
The willingness of the DfT to review the institutional arrangements governing railway safety is especially welcome. Rail is already a very safe mode of transport and Network Rail is committed to continually improving rail safety.
Network Rail was created in October 2002 and has already taken significant steps to restructure the organisation we inherited. In October 2003, the ground-breaking decision to bring all rail maintenance in-house was announced, and the company is currently reorganising itself to focus on its customers and improving performance.
The reorganisation includes the creation of Integrated Control Centres to continue the recent improvements in train punctuality. The move to Integrated Control Centres, whereby a single manager takes overall responsibility for ensuring train movements are determined by the needs of rail users, is due to commence at Waterloo in early February.
The recent publication of the Regulator’s conclusions from the interim review provided the necessary certainty, stability and visibility regarding the level of expenditure for which we will be funded over the next five years. This will enable us to plan properly for the future and focus on delivering the very significant improvements in both efficiency and the performance of the railway that are needed. The review also clarified and reinforced the company’s accountability for these improvements to both our customers and to the Regulator. Network Rail therefore welcomes the government’s confirmation the principle of independent economic regulation is essential and will be central to its proposals.
Railway punctuality is currently showing significant improvements. Since October 2002, Network Rail has put in place clear plans of action to drive performance improvements. Autumn delays were down 27%. In 2002, there were 1,177,375 autumn delay minutes; in 2003 it was reduced to 855,390. Year-on-year, delays are currently down by 6%. It is important that any changes support this promising improvement.
The Secretary of State endorsed the improvements Network Rail is delivering, saying that “Network Rail is already making significant progress improving the performance of the track and signalling and getting a grip on costs.”
Commenting on the announcement of the review, Ian McAllister, Chairman, said: “I warmly welcome this review and thank the Secretary of State for his positive comments about the work Network Rail is doing. The management team at Network Rail will work hard to provide constructive ideas to improve the effectiveness of the rail industry and deliver better performance.”
Mr McAllister continued: “It is particularly pleasing that this consultation exercise includes rail safety arrangements. It is imperative that rail safety is treated in a rational and proportionate manner.
“Train punctuality is showing early but significant signs of improvement. We will work closely with government in the months ahead to help ensure that the outcome of this review builds on the progress already being achieved.”
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Notes to editors
Network Rail is the 'not for dividend' operator of Britain's rail network. Our objective is to provide safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure.
We own and maintain the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, and level crossings. We also own the network’s 2,500 stations, and manage the largest and busiest. We provide access to the tracks for every passenger and freight train, timetable their journeys, and operate the signalling, which controls their movements.
Network Rail is a company limited by guarantee with members instead of shareholders. It is run as a commercial organisation, but any operating surplus is re-invested in the rail network.
Our core focus is the operation, maintenance and renewal of existing rail infrastructure, with the Strategic Rail Authority taking the lead on enhancement projects.
We have set clear targets to improve performance and reduce costs, but safety is always at the forefront of our activities as we rebuild Britain's railway.
Details about the Company can be found on the Network Rail web site: www.networkrail.co.uk
For media enquiries please contact the Network Rail press office on
020 7557 8292 / 3
Railhub Archive ::: 2004-01-19 NET-001