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ORR highlights the good progress in its delivery of enhancements and freight performance but continued poor passenger train service performance. This was shown in its final annual assessment of Network Rail Scotland for Control Period 5 (2014-19), which was published today.
Network Rail Scotland finished its CP5 enhancements delivery programme strongly, meeting many key milestones on or ahead of schedule.
The delivery of the Shotts Electrification project, despite the collapse of its electrification contractor late into the project, was a notable example.
Other successes included the delivery of the Highland Mainline Phase 2 project, along with the Stirling- Dunblane-Alloa electrification, as well as sustained progress on the redevelopment at Glasgow Queen Street Station.
ORR’s Annual Monitor also displays that Network Rail’s performance in the rail freight sector remains strong.
At the end of 2018-19, the freight performance measure for Scotland for on-time arrivals was 96.7%, 4.2 percentage points better than the target.
However, despite this success, passengers in Scotland suffered a decline in train service performance.
At the end of 2018-19, performance in Scotland was 5.1 percentage points below the punctuality target of 92.5%.
It became clear last autumn that Network Rail was breaching its licence on passenger service train performance.
This is when ORR took the step of issuing an Order requiring the company, in conjunction with train operators, in order to immediately identify and fix issues on train performance along with service recovery.
Network Rail replied positively and submitted a thorough response detailing how it was tackling the systemic issues and planning to establish a stronger grip on how to train performance is planned, monitored and delivered.
ORR’s Annual Monitor also highlights issues with Network Rail Scotland’s efficiency and renewals planning for Control Period 6.
They published their concerns with these plans at the end of March 2019. In response to this, Network Rail Scotland has made some progress, but it still needs to do more and intensify its focus.
What did the officials have to say?
Stephanie Tobyn, ORR Director, Scotland, said:
“Given the recent challenges faced by electrification projects across Great Britain, it is encouraging to see Network Rail Scotland perform well in its enhancements delivery programme. It also outperformed all of the routes in England and Wales on its asset management scorecard targets.
“However, there is an increase in time taken to recover from infrastructure incidents – something we have especially highlighted. This is a worrying trend as passengers are not seeing the benefit of Network Rail’s improving asset reliability.
“We are monitoring this issue closely in line with our new holding to account policy which focuses on routine monitoring and assessment, inter-route comparison and early resolution of concerns.
“Should Network Rail be unable to resolve these issues, our new enforcement policy includes an option to impose financial sanctions at route level against the management team responsible.”
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This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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