Formal action is being taken against Network Rail by a regulator due to underperforming.
The government-owned company has been ordered by the Office of Rail and Road to make improvements to the way in which it manages Britain’s rail infrastructure. Currently, punctuality and reliability are the lowest since 2014 with some of the causes relating to poor weather and the problems experienced with implementing the May 2018 timetable.
Andrew Haines, the Network Rail Chief Executive has conceded that train performance has been lacking and passengers have not been receiving the service they deserve. Therefore, they have to take responsibility for the way in which they have delivered an underperforming train service. Weaknesses have been identified in Network Rail’s planning and the way in which it recovers it services after incidents have occurred.
The Office of Rail and Road Chief Executive John Larkinson has said that passengers and freight both rely on Network rail and the evidence they have found suggests that Network Rail is failing in putting the correct measures in place to manage performance but also recover from incidents. So, this capability issue is something that has to be addressed quickly.
A Provisional Order has been issued by the Office of Rail and Road which request Network Rail to engage with train operators as a way of improving performance while providing the Office of Rail and Road with a report by February 15, identifying any issues and how they plan to resolve them. They will then be required to provide regular progress updates.
It has also been identified that Network Rail is a better position over the next five-year funding period than it was at the same point five years ago, highlighting that it has what is required to deliver efficiently.
Progress has been made in some areas but the plans in place that are designed to make efficiency savings are not as advanced as they should be and so, more needs to be done be before they move into the next five-year phase.
Network Rail has made it clear that it is committed to taking the industry forward and taking it back to times where performance levels are higher through putting the correct measures in place as well as taking the right action where required.
The regulator has stated that if Network Rail fails to take action then a fine could be imposed and the company could face legal action.