ORR investigates Network Rail performance in North West and Central

22 January 2020 (Last Updated January 22nd, 2020 14:09)

The UK industry regulator Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has launched an investigation over Network Rail’s poor service in North West and Central regions.

ORR investigates Network Rail performance in North West and Central
Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is investigating Network Rail’s poor service in North West and Central regions. Credit: Geof Sheppard

The UK industry regulator Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has launched an investigation over Network Rail’s poor service in North West and Central regions.

It released an update regarding the performance and impact of the passenger train service. It also issued a formal warning to the company.

In 2018, ORR asked Network Rail to improve the performance of its track management and infrastructure. Last year, ORR approved Network Rail’s action plan to improve performance.

ORR said that the Network Rail accounted for 58% of the delays on a national level in the previous year. This shows a 1.1% decrease since 2018.

It said that, in the North West and Central region, the performance of Network Rail ‘in terms of its contribution to delays remains a concern’.

The services in the region worsened in 2018 and did not improve last year. This prompted ORR to investigate the company’s recovery plan and monitor its impact, testing efforts to improve the service.

However, the performance of Network Rail in the Wales and Western region has improved. It has been the best service provided by the company in the previous five years.

In Scotland, there has been a 24% decrease in passenger train delays by Network Rail. This performance still falls short of targets set for ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper.

ORR said: “We expect Network Rail to build on work to date and continue to learn lessons and identify opportunities to deliver further improvements and ensure the provision of reliable service for passengers in Scotland.”

ORR has also investigated the poor performance of TransPennine Express (TPE) and found that that train operators were at fault.

Recently, UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said that Northern Rail, operated by Arriva Rail North, is in financial trouble and could collapse within months.