Tuesday 7 Jun 2005

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO ORR PUBLICATIONS

Route:
National
Network Rail welcomes today’s announcement by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) where the ORR concludes that ‘there has been good progress by Network Rail in the last year’ and that ‘Network Rail has made an encouraging start to its broader role following the Rail Review’. In response, John Armitt, Chief Executive said: “The Company is delivering a better service to customers.  Train delays are down, asset condition has markedly improved and costs have been reduced.” Some of the highlights of the past year include:
  • 17% reduction in Network Rail delay minutes, from 13.7m in 03/04 to 11.4m in 04/05
  • Increase in ‘on time’ trains from 81.2% last year to 83.6% in 04/05
  • 19 consecutive months of improving performance delivered
  • Broken rails at lowest ever levels. 322 recorded in 04/05 compared with over 900 just five years ago
  • Track faults 23% down on 03/04, temporary speed restrictions down 18%, points failures down 11%, signal failures down 9%, track circuit failures down 7%
  • Work volumes have also vastly increased. Compared to just five years ago, 95% more rail laid (626 miles compared to 321in 99/00), 81% increase in ballast renewed (450 miles compared to 249) and a 293% increase in sets of points replaced (511 compared to just 130)
  • 15,000 new employees joined the Company as maintenance was taken in-house
  • Huge investment in people with £20m+ purchase of new leadership centre, advanced apprenticeship scheme launched for 1,000 young people and new state-of-the-art signalling training centres opened
  Commenting on the ORR’s observations on Network Rail’s spending, John Armitt said: “We are not prepared to spend money on projects that simply aren’t ready.  We make no apology for deferring spending to later years as we are determined to ensure tight budgeting and a clear understanding of what needs to be delivered.  We will get value for money from our spending plans, ensuring we get the most from every pound spent.  John Armitt added (on the ORR’s comments on business planning): “We recognise the need to develop more robust plans for future spending and our recently published 2005 Business Plan set out a whole series of action plans that we will take forward in consultation with the ORR.” Mr Armitt concluded: “Network Rail has had a good year and there is still a lot more to do, but credit should go to our 30,000 employees, industry partners and suppliers for delivering a better, more punctual, efficient and safe railway over the past 12 months.  Our task is to stay focussed and ensure this progress continues.”

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About Network Rail

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.

Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.

We are building a better railway for a better Britain.

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