14 August 2015
The rail regulator has fined Network Rail £2 million after finding that delays and cancellations constituted a breach of its license.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) announced on 10 August that an investigation had found Network Rail’s Southern, Govia Thameslink and Scottish Services in 2014 and 2015 to be ‘below expectations’ and to have ‘missed punctuality targets’.
The majority of delays occurred at London Bridge Station, but there were also disruptions in Scotland. Southern and GTR services reportedly made up nearly half of all significantly delayed or cancelled services across England and Wales.
Various issues were identified with Network Rail's development and implementation of timetables in 2014-15. The ORR concluded that ‘Network Rail did not do everything reasonably practicable to deliver the reliability and punctuality needed to support the train services provided by Southern, GTR and in Scotland.’
Network Rail responded to the report with an apology to passengers for ‘disruption and frustration’. The infrastructure group stated that since the start of 2015 it had invested more than £11m to ‘improve performance for Southern and Thameslink passengers’.
Richard Price, chief executive of ORR, said: ‘The scale of the delays suffered by passengers was central to our decision to fine. The penalty sends a clear message to the Network Rail Board; Network Rail must urgently rectify these errors and deliver the reliability of services that passengers have paid for.’
Network Rail now has the choice to either pay the fine to the treasury or use the money to offer reparations to customers who experienced delays and cancellations.
ORR’s findings can be read here.