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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Rail regulator needs to make railways ‘safer & more efficient’

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has made ‘good progress’ in delivering its corporate strategy over the past financial year, but the hard work must continue to help make Britain’s railways safer, more efficient, and more passenger and customer-focused, it says in its annual report published today.

ORR’s Annual Report and Accounts 2010-2011 details the rail regulator’s key activities and achievements. These include:

Making the rail sector more efficient: co-sponsoring, with the Department for Transport, Sir Roy McNulty’s value for money study which set out a clear path for making the rail sector more efficient.

The rail regulator has successfully challenged Network Rail to achieve significant efficiency improvements but more needs to be done and Sir Roy’s recommendations for tackling the underlying causes of high cost are strongly endorsed by the rail regulator.

Making the rail sector safer: holding Network Rail to account over the non-reporting of minor injuries and working with a growing number of dutyholders on systematic measurement of their safety culture.

Holding Network Rail to account: working with Network Rail to agree a set of clear, measurable objectives that will help the company attain excellence in health and safety and asset management, while continuing to ensure that the company is on track to deliver a wide range of enhancement projects.

Focusing on passengers and rail customers: focusing Network Rail and train operators on providing better information to passengers, including during periods of disruption, carrying out a review of ticket retailing and continuing to ensure that disruption from planned maintenance and renewal work is kept to a minimum.

As the independent safety and economic regulator of Britain’s railways, ORR is firmly committed to making its regulation of Britain’s railways both focused and effective and of putting passengers and freight customers at the heart of the rail sector. That is why work is ongoing to help meet both current and future challenges.

At the end of last month ORR launched a major consultation on the next periodic review, the process that determines what the mainline railway needs to deliver in the next control period (2014-2019) with a particular focus on the pace of improving efficiency.

Commenting on the annual report, chief executive Bill Emery said:

“Britain’s railways have made good progress in recent years. Service performance and passenger satisfaction have hit record highs and there have been significant improvements in safety and risk management.

“ORR’s annual report highlights the significant contributions we have made in helping make the railway a success story.

“But there are big challenges ahead for the rail industry and ORR. As the industry’s regulator we are ready to play a pivotal role in supporting improved performance, monitoring and enforcing safety, and working to create a more efficient and effective rail industry.

“We are forward looking and are constantly working to help shape Britain’s railways so that it can better deliver what passengers and freight customers want.”

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