Regulator sets harsh targets for Network Rail

31 October 2008

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has allocated a budget of £26.5 billion to Network Rail (NR) for the five years from April 2009 – considerably less than the £29.1 billion which NR thinks it needs. The regulator says that NR should be able to work within this budget – which means cost reductions of 21%.

 

‘It is difficult to see how they manage to come up with a figure of this precision,’ says ASLEF’s Keith Norman. ‘And it does make you wonder about the good sense of reducing expenditure on the infrastructure just as rail is expanding so rapidly.’

 

At the same time that the regulator says punctuality should improve from 90% to 92% by 2014, it also warned that passengers will face weekend engineering works for years to come.

 

Last New Year, NR was fined a record £14 million by the regulator for the engineering over-runs. ‘Effectively this means that the travelling public has to pay twice,’ Keith added. ‘First they suffer the inconvenience, and then NR has less money to improve the infrastructure.’

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