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Regulator reports on Network Rail

08 July 2014

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has published its assessment of Network Rail's performance against funded obligations between 2009 and 2014.

It identifies a number of successes over the past five years, including:

  • A major rail enhancement programme with 98  of 118 projects delivered early or on time
  • Significant investment in Britain's freight network
  • Improved safety at levels crossings
  • Record numbers of passengers (1.5 billion journeys) and freight (116.6 million tonnes)
  • Keeping rail services running safely throughout challenging weather conditions of winter 2013-2014

However, it also found important areas in which the company has not achieved funded targets:

  • Average punctuality levels for long distance passenger services fell short of the funded target of 92% at 86.9%
  • Network Rail did not deliver all of its plans to improve performance and had insufficient knowledge of the condition of its key assets
  • Punctuality for London and the South East passenger services reached 89.9% in 2013-14, short of the funded 93%

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said in a statement: ‘This is a time of unprecedented growth and record levels of investment in Britain’s railways. As a result, today we have the safest, most improved passenger railway in Europe.

‘Passengers do want trains to run on time, but for many of them the more pressing priority is increased services with less crowding. The trade-off between congestion and punctuality is something we face every day.’

Network Rail has committed extra funds to improve the resilience of the rail network in London and the South East. Projects costing at least £25 million must be in place by December 2014. The company will also return £53.1 million to funders for failure to deliver its agreed obligations in 2013-14. This money will be used to help foot the bill for introducing faster wifi on commuter trains across England and Wales. 

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