Posted: Wed 29th Nov 2023

Rail regulator launches investigation into declining train performance in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Nov 29th, 2023

Train performance in Wales has continued to deteriorate, while the wider network across Great Britain has seen performance stabilising, according to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The rail watchdog has now initiated an investigation into the issues of train delays and unreliability, specifically within the Network Rail Wales region.

While ORR’s investigation will focus on Network Rail, the regulator recognises that the delivery of reliable, punctual trains requires cross-industry collaboration, ORR has said.

In a letter, ORR stated that Network Rail’s “contribution to train service performance has been on an overall worsening trend since 2021, impacting both passengers and freight. The region has therefore been subject to enhanced regulatory monitoring and intervention.”

As part of its investigation, the regulator will convene a roundtable of parties who directly contribute to delivering train performance in the region.

Bringing together Network Rail, train operating companies, freight operators, and other bodies, ORR said it will work to ensure a “joined-up approach to identifying the measures required to improve performance for passengers and freight in the Wales & Western region.”

ORR’s investigation will assess whether Network Rail is complying with its licence obligations in the Wales & Western region and whether it is doing everything reasonably practicable to deliver train service performance.

This will include the regulator reviewing the effectiveness of the region’s performance improvement plan, “whether assets are being managed appropriately, and the impact of changes to the rail network on train performance.”

Based on its investigation, ORR said it will determine whether there is more that Network Rail “could be doing and may decide on appropriate measures, which could include enforcement action.”

Feras Alshaker, Director of Performance and Planning, said: “While Network Rail has begun making good progress in stabilising performance elsewhere on the network, performance in the Wales & Western region has continued to deteriorate, meaning poor reliability and punctuality for passengers and freight.

“Our investigation will take a detailed look at the root causes of the region’s performance issues and will consider wider contributing factors. As part of our work, we will convene a roundtable with key players in the region to support Network Rail in taking pragmatic and effective action to improve performance for all the region’s rail users.”

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