Network Rail faces penalty over inaccurate infrastructure information

2 March 2006

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) proposes to impose a financial penalty of £250,000 on Network Rail for breach of Condition 7 of its network licence.

The breach results from Network Rail’s failure to ensure that the information it makes available to the industry on the capability of its infrastructure is accurate. This information defines the network available to train operators and is important for the effective planning of the use and development of the network by train operators and Network Rail itself. ORR has accepted that Network Rail has a robust recovery plan and is now taking steps to remedy the breach, and will monitor the delivery of this plan. ORR has decided to impose the penalty because the company has failed to address the issue sooner and to reflect the significance of there being accurate information on network capability.

ORR Chairman, Chris Bolt said,

“We expect Network Rail to ensure that it actively takes steps to comply with all its licence obligations. Accurate information about the capability of the infrastructure is needed to help train operators plan services and pursue commercial opportunities. It is also necessary for Network Rail’s planning as an input to assessing the future requirements of the railway. 

“Freight operators in particular have been concerned about this issue for some time and raised a formal complaint with us in late 2004, having failed to resolve this issue bilaterally with Network Rail. Although Network Rail is now actively addressing these issues, we intend to impose a financial penalty on the company for not resolving it sooner. If Network Rail fails to deliver its recovery plan, we have the option of further enforcement action, and/or a higher penalty.”

Notes for editors

  1. The section 55(6) notice under the Railways Act 1993 (as amended) and the section 57C notice under the same Act are available here.
  2. Representations on the penalty may be made within the next 21 days, by 23 March 2006.
  3. Network Rail’s network licence
  4. The draft enforcement policy and penalties statement is available here.

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