Following the enforcement action taken against Network Rail in November 2018, an action plan has been submitted to the ORR and subsequently approved, making it possible for NR to improve its performance.
The plan indicates how Network Rail plans to improve its poor performance by working more closely with train operators. Here it will be possible to create a new performance management system where incidents are dealt with quickly while its operational capacity will be increased.
The punctuality and reliability levels of Network Rail had significantly dropped to the lowest point since the five-year control period was put into place. This resulted in the ORR issuing Network Rail with a provisional order where urgent action had to be taken in order to address the problem.
The 6-month Network Rail Monitor by ORR found that the extreme weather such as heat and snow as well as the problems relating to the implementation of the May timetable changes all played a part in the infrastructure manager’s poor performance. So, the response from Network Rail outlines the specific actions it will take to identify the problems and address the issues that have caused this long decline in punctuality and reliability. This will involve introducing a new performance management system that will provide greater insight into what causes delays.
It also became clear that Network Rail would seek out ways to improve incident response time and reduce the time it takes to bring services back to normal following any disruption. There will also be improvements made in recruitment and staff training as a way of increasing its operations capacity.
The Director of Planning & Performance at ORR, Graham Richard has said that Network Rail must commit fully to improving performance. They will also make sure that Network Rail delivers on the steps that it will take to make the relevant improvements for both passengers and customers. This positive reaction has been welcomed and that the plan put in place will identify and tackle the problems and the drop in punctuality.
This comes after the ORR announced last week that it would bring in new regulations that put Network Rail responsible by targeting the areas that affect passengers and funders the most. They will also hit the bonuses that senior manager’s receive should they not hit their performance targets.