Rail regulator criticises missed infrastructure milestones

August 12 2015  

Rail regulator criticises missed infrastructure milestones
Network Rail could be in breach of its licence after missing several milestones on its CP5 infrastructure enhancements programme, regulator the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) has said following an investigation.
 
The rail operator missed 36% of single option scheme development (GRIP 3) milestones and failed to deliver 35% of completed infrastructure improvements (GRIP 6) on time during 2014-15.
 
ORR’s railway planning and performance director Alan Price has sent a letter to Network Rail summarising the preliminary findings of the investigation. The letter identifies several project development and delivery weaknesses which are described as “systemic”, rather than the result of individual project failings or adverse circumstances.
 
The rail operator is now invited to respond ahead of a final ruling, expected next month.
 
Network Rail’s managing director infrastructure projects Francis Paonessa said: “The projects set before us for our current five year funding period to 2019 were bigger and more complex than ever and required a step change in delivery, both for the company and its supply chain.  
 
“Despite this challenge, over three quarters of our regulatory project milestones have been delivered to time or within weeks of target. But we know we can and must do better which is why, earlier this year, we set up a special Board-led task force to strengthen our major project delivery. The task force has produced a detailed improvement plan that is already underway and good progress is being made.”
 
The ORR acknowledged the progress of this Major Projects Delivery Committee in developing an Enhancements Improvement Plan (EIP), but added it does not have complete confidence that every issue has yet been identified.
 
“It will be a significant and long term challenge for Network Rail to embed the improvements into business as usual. This will require significant on going effort, particularly in further developing and refining the EIP to ensure it is tackling the root causes,” Mr Price states in the letter.
 
♦ Network Rail is to be fined £2M by the ORR for missing punctuality targets on Southern, Govia Thameslink and Scottish passenger services, it was announced on Monday.
 
(Photo: Network Rail)

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