The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) in the UK has introduced the 2023 Periodic Review (PR23) process to ascertain the funding required for the national rail network from 2024 to 2029.
Under the process, a five-year settlement has been laid down for evaluating the fund requirements of the infrastructure owner, Network Rail and Great British Railways, according to their operation, maintenance, and overhaul needs.
This process will also determine the delivery requirements over the course of five years starting from April 2024, known as Control Period 7 (CP7).
The periodic review will focus on safety, performance, efficiency, and asset sustainability.
The entire railway network will be maintained for ensuring safety and improved for delivering better services.
Over the course of their operational lives, all rail assets will be planned and handled as per their greatest capacity.
Network Rail, or a successor body, will be required to set realistic efficiency goals.
A framework will also be established through which ORR will hold the infrastructure owner accountable for delivering the aforesaid targets during CP7.
In the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, the UK Government has specified that Great British Railways will be held responsible for delivering commitments made by Network Rail for CP7.
This will bring accountability for delivery, transparency about the fulfilment of the commitments as well as stability for investment.
The new process will acknowledge the rail industry’s challenges and respond to the planned reforms according to the execution of the Williams-Shapps Plan.
ORR strategy and policy director Dan Brown said: “ORR’s five-year funding settlement for Britain’s rail infrastructure will ensure long-term investment to deliver reliable services for passengers and freight users, and value-for-money for customers and taxpayers.
“I’m pleased that the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail confirmed its commitment to PR23, and today’s letter begins our process for assessing Britain’s railway infrastructure needs from 2024-2029 as we work together to deliver these ambitious reforms.”
Earlier this week, ORR published new guidance that sought to address risks and increase safety at level crossings.