ORR publishes Network Rail investigation findings

timing board
Credit: ORR

The Office of Rail and Road has published its findings from its investigation into Network Rail’s impact on poor performance in the North West.

At the time of the investigation being launched, Network Rail had fallen behind its targets, and the ORR was not convinced that Network Rail was taking enough action to turn its performance around for passenger and freight trains.

The ORR has found that Network Rail had identified the main causes of poor performance and has developed a remedial action plan, but also found that Network Rail lacked a clear timeline on when these should be delivered.

Network Rail has since provided the Office of Rail and Road with milestones on when improvements will be made. The ORR will now monitor these plans, taking further action if needed.

Graham Richards, Director, Planning and Performance at ORR said: “While Network Rail is currently doing a good job at moving critical workers and essential supplies around the country we haven’t forgotten that rail passengers in North West and Central England have previously seen unacceptable delays to their journeys as far back as 2017 – with a 40% increase in the amount they were delayed. Our investigation, started before the pandemic, confirms that this poor performance resulted from a build up of issues, some of which were outside of Network Rail’s control; but not all will be quick fixes.

Graham continued “A start has been made, and we’re pleased to see that Network Rail is now providing clearer details on when plans will be delivered. These plans must be followed through, and ORR will monitor that everything which should be is, in fact, happening to help improve services for passengers for when the railway returns to a steady state. ORR recognises the impact of Covid-19 on rail performance and planning and therefore expects the recommendations to be implemented as part of the Covid-19 recovery planning”.

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  1. Did they address the issues of Manchester? Victoria (MCV) cannot cope with extra traffic. Network Rail or its predecessor started to downgrade this station in the so-called wonderful days of Nationalisation, reducing it from I think it was 16 platforms to the current 6. The acceleration of traffic in recent years has resulted in trains being unable to get into the station from either direction because of congestion. They did not learn, the building of a new link to Piccadilly ( 2nd attempt, after the botched Winsor Link, again in the 80s) was completed, but left access to the station with extra traffic and no increase in the two tracks that serve the station from the south.

    Network Rail needs a shakeup, there must be an independent group too oversee their work, but surely this fiasco is a reason to ensure that our network should be commercially viable and answerable for the poor decisions it makes, and the financial waste it has created.

  2. In the 1970/80 MVC had platforms 5/6/7/8/11/12/13/14/15/16. So you mention 16 platforms but only 10 were used, platform 5 was the bury service that became a metro link service, platforms 5/6/7 were 95% the Oldham / Rochdale services with odd West/East Yorkshire services, the Oldham loop became a metrolink, so your 16 platforms became 6
    Truth be known MCV should have been the main station for Manchester, not London Rd ( Man Pic)
    Don’t forget Exchange was part of Vic,

  3. Maybe Northern should start using the Class 769s on the Windermere Line and other routes in the Northwest. As they have promised to bring in extra trains for Cumbria and Lancashire.


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