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Published on : Friday, June 26, 2015
More train passengers arrived at their destination on time last year than ever before, Network Rail’s Annual Report has revealed today. Following decades of underinvestment, Britain is now investing record amounts in our railway to ensure it remains fit for purpose as well as able to accommodate the record number of trains. Britain now has the safest passenger network in Europe and the railway asset reliability is the best it has ever been, even whilst passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years.
However, Network Rail faces some stretching targets in Control Period 5 (CP5, 2014-19) and the pace of improvement is behind expectations. Several regulatory targets were missed and following slippages in the major projects portfolio, chief executive Mark Carne has given a frank assessment to the Department of Transport of what will be achievable in the remaining four years.
Mark Carne said: “During my first year in the job I have looked closely at every aspect of our business and it has become clear that Network Rail signed up to highly ambitious five-year targets set by the regulator. Based on historic improvements from a low base, we were overly optimistic about the capacity of our company and our supplier base to step up several gears in order to achieve the plan, especially given the complexities of a network that is at full capacity much of the time.”
On the big items like electrification and capital projects, it was always part of the regulatory process that the costs and programme would be revisited as projects became properly defined. Unfortunately when these reviews have occurred, the more detailed project costs have been higher than assumed at the earliest stages of definition. As a result, the total enhancement programme cost now exceeds the available five-year budget. Some projects are also delayed beyond the original dates.
Mark Carne added “I recognise that these delays will cause disappointment for some passengers for which I can only apologise. I welcome the fact that the Transport Secretary has asked Sir Peter Hendy to work with me and my team to develop proposals for re-planning the programme over the next few months.”
Since joining last year, Mark Carne has brought in a largely new leadership team to drive the pace of change needed to build a better, more modern railway. The team has focussed particularly on devolving the company into eight regional businesses. This structure empowers route managing directors to quickly respond to the needs of their local passengers and train companies whilst enabling the company to benchmark performance and drive innovation and best practice much more transparently. It also deploys national services and systems to drive economies of scale and common standards, thus delivering better value for taxpayers.
Given the change in outlook compared to the regulatory settlement, Network Rail’s remuneration committee has decided that no bonuses should be paid to its executive directors for 2014/15. Their bonus entitlement had already been reduced from a maximum of 160% of salary to 20% shortly after Mark Carne joined as chief executive last year. Mr Carne has previously announced that he would forego this year’s bonus.
Source:- Network Rail
Tags: network rail