Rail regulator welcomes increased levels of punctuality and passenger satisfaction and Network Rail taking on the challenges of the next five years

25 February 2009

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) today publishes its National rail review and Network Rail monitor covering the third quarter of 2008-09 (broadly October to December 2008).

The main performance trends for the quarter show that continuing improvements in train punctuality, and passenger satisfaction are at their highest levels, and levels of complaints continue to decline.

Bill Emery, ORR chief executive said: “We welcome the continuing good news from the mainline railway. The train operators and Network Rail are delivering the highest levels of train punctuality and passenger satisfaction we have seen in years.

“The mainline railway is not immune from the recession and rail freight is taking the brunt of this.  While our recently published figures show the growth in passenger numbers is slowing together, with a small reduction in the number of passenger journeys, there has not yet been the significant reductions in rail travel that some have expected.

“There is a huge amount of work to do on the railway. We welcome Network Rail taking on the challenges of the next five years as set down in our determination last October. Network Rail must deliver substantial enhancements to its network as well as contributing in a major way to further improvements in performance and safety, and continue to expand network capacity, all while steadily improving its efficiency. The enhancements include major schemes such as Thameslink, capacity enhancements at Reading, and the Glasgow Airport rail link.

“Network Rail will be publishing the first part its five-year delivery plan at the end of February with the second part due by the end of March, and this will set out its commitments and plans for its customers and all users of the railway.
“We will be holding Network Rail and its industry partners to deliver on these commitments and as we set out in our own strategy, we see this as one of our key roles for the next five years.”

ORR’s Network Rail monitor, reveals performance figures at record levels. The Q3 (14 September 2008 to 3 January 2009) figures for Great Britain show:

Performance and delay minutes: the public performance measure (PPM) at the end of Q3 was 90.8%. This is above the industry target of 90.6 and 1.5% higher than at the end of Q3 last year. At Q3, Network Rail is on course to achieve its target of delay minutes, which currently stands at 6.8 million, 11.6% lower than at the same point last year.  

Safety: safety risks continue to be managed, and remain broadly unchanged since Q1. However, level crossings continue to remain a concern, particularly misuse by members of the public. 

Infrastructure assets: overall reliability is improving, and failures in Q3 were 6% down on the same period last year. 

Network Rail finances: at Q3, Network Rail is reporting an out-performance of its budget by £189m (2.6%).

The Q3 (14 September 2008 to 3 January 2009) figures for Scotland show:

Performance and delay minutes: the public performance measure (PPM) at the end of Q3 was 90.9% which is an improvement of 0.7% over Q3 last year. Network Rail was ahead of its targets for delay minutes. Delay minutes due to signalling system and telecoms failures increased reflecting concerns about non-track assets for the network as a whole. Much of this can be attributed to the post-commissioning system problems at the West of Scotland signalling centre at Glasgow central. ORR will be meeting with Network Rail to understand the causes of the problems and its plans to resolve them.

Infrastructure assets: the trend of slowly improving reliability is generally matched in Scotland where asset failures fell 4% on the same period last year.  

Expenditure: at Q3, Network rail is reporting an out-performance of its budget of £39m (8.4%).

Notes to Editors

  1. National rail review is available on our website at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/390.pdf
  2. Network Rail monitor is available on our website at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/391.pdf

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