Network Rail’s £4bn Scottish improvement plan gets regulatory approval

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has set out its final determination on Network Rail’s £4 billion plans to make Scotland’s railway more reliable.

Covering maintenance and renewal along with improved daily operations, the plans will run for five years from 1 April 2019, known as Control Period 6 (CP6).

Network Rail’s £4bn Scottish improvement plan gets regulatory approval

The regulator has set out what Network Rail will be expected to deliver in Scotland, reflecting the requirements which the Scottish Government set in its High Level Output Specification (HLOS). This includes specific measures for Network Rail to deliver journey time improvements for both passenger and freight operators and achieve a punctuality target of 92.5%. ORR’s final determination also requires Network Rail to take steps to make rail freight more attractive to business across Scotland and to facilitate 7.5% growth by the end of CP6.

The ORR is setting up a stronger framework to hold the Scotland route to account by changing how it monitors whether efficiency improvements are likely to be delivered and making public comparisons between how the Scotland route is delivering compared against other routes throughout CP6.

The ORR said it supports plans for increased investment in research & development (R&D) with a GB-wide fund  of £245 million (of which £26m will be funded from the Scotland route settlement) to be spent on projects that are intended to deliver a range of benefits, including those that would improve the reliability of the network.

John Larkinson, chief executive at ORR, said: the decisions mean that Network Rail can now implement its plans to deliver a service which passengers and freight customers rightly demand and deserve.

He added: “These plans are focussed on improving performance for passengers and freight operators by getting the basics right – ensuring that the railway is properly maintained and renewed, and on improving the daily operation of the railway.

“With only five months until the start of CP6, it is important that the Scotland route is ready to deliver from day one of the new control period on the priorities set for Scotland.”

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