Thursday 2 Oct 2003


Region & Route:
On 3 October 2002, Network Rail completed its acquisition of Railtrack PLC and assumed responsibility for Britain’s rail infrastructure. Speaking in advance of Network Rail’s first anniversary, Ian McAllister, Chairman said:      “It has been a year of significant change in which much progress has been made.  We are making big changes to the way rail maintenance is to be done whilst getting to grips with the inherited legacy of a fragile network.  Maintenance contracts are moving in-house and we have worked intensively on programmes to bring costs down and performance up. “But there will be no celebrations here while the primary measure of success, train performance, remains unsatisfactory.  The building blocks of change are being put in place but this is yet to feed through to more punctual trains.  We always said that it would take time to deliver a sustained improvement and we will not rest until the travelling public sees a difference.” Highlights and changes implemented over the past year include:- Performance:
  • Performance enhancement unit established and tasked to deliver punctuality improvements ahead of business plan targets
  • ‘Six sigma’ management techniques being introduced to understand root causes of delay – over 500 staff trained
·        £14 million critical junctions project, enhanced inspection and maintenance focused on 100 priority junctions - more - Anniversary – 2 ·        100 critical paths project, targeting resources on key train journeys to improve overall punctuality ·        Regional possession planning units created to improve efficiency and utilisation of possessions across the board
  • Autumn preparedness taskforce set up to target resources and planning to help to combat annual seasonal performance dip
  • 10 year Business Plan published in March, describing ‘ageing and fragile’ network and          4000 mile track renewal backlog
  • Efficiency Improvement Programme published in June targeting £1.3 billion annual cost savings by 2006/7, equivalent to 20% costs or £5.5bn saving
  • Interim Review of track access charges underway, working closely with Office of Rail Regulator and Strategic Rail Authority
  • Network Rail Cost Submission published in September proposing £24.5 billion expenditure over 5 years (2004-2009) – a further £5bn saving
  • Reading maintenance contract successfully taken back in-house (2 months early), Wessex  (5 months early) and East Midlands (14 months early) to follow
  • New Maintenance Programme being rolled out nationwide – Network Rail, not the contractor, to determine what work is done, where and when
  • Fundamental change in approach to maintenance, from ‘find and fix’ to ‘predict and prevent’
  • New Measurement Train introduced - 125 mph automated track inspection, track geometry, conditional and ride information, video recording
  • Over £200 million invested in new plant and machinery including a new fleet of rail grinders, stoneblowers, ballast cleaning trains, Multi-Purpose Vehicles and a high output plain line track renewal train ordered
  • Asset register (MIMS) being actively implemented across the country - due to complete early next year
  Organisation changes:
  • Common organisational structure introduced across the UK affecting over 8,000 staff.    Day to day operation split into seven regions and 18 area delivery groups to give greater local control and accountability
  • Seven clear corporate objectives established, detailed actions plans introduced to deliver improved performance
  • New property board established to bring specialist knowledge, expertise and experience
- more - Anniversary - 3
  • Network Rail ‘Railway Estates’ created to align property interests with core railway operations, new senior management team
  • Total headcount reduction of 2000 within three years
  • Record levels of track renewed – around 950 miles of track
  • Record levels of ballast, 2.7 million tonnes, delivered to thousands of work-sites across the country
  • Record numbers of switch and crossing units delivered – over 1,800
  • Railtrack released from Special Railway Administration at midnight on 2 October, 2002
  • Signal design taken back in-house to ensure greater cost effectiveness of new signalling projects
  • Train Protection and Warning System installed at 97% of signals - project on time and on budget
  • £4 billion euro commercial paper programme and US commercial paper program signed
  • Management Incentive Plan introduced linking executive pay to passenger interests –       train performance
  • Partnerships established with Freight Operating Companies to jointly improve train performance
  • West Coast Route Modernisation project re-scoped in conjunction with the SRA –       delivery phase nearing completion
  • Southern Power upgrade scoped and underway including over 500 miles of cabling to be replaced, 160 substations and 146 transformers.
  Commenting on the first twelve months, Ian McAllister, Chairman, said: “Today is    Network Rail’s first anniversary; an opportunity for others to look back on the significant changes we have introduced over the past year, but for us it is another day busy implementing our action plans to improve the future of Britain’s railway. “We said on day one, twelve months ago, that to bring about tangible improvements would take time. All of our experiences over the last twelve months have confirmed that this assessment was correct.” - more - Anniversary - 4 Mr McAllister continued: “Our people remain the linchpin by which all improvements will be delivered and in my travels over the last year their passion, dedication and commitment continues to astound and impress.  “We are sticking to our plans to deliver safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure.  In the past year we have made much progress but more work remains to be done.”

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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