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Regulator’s Annual Assessment: Network Rail’s Wales & Western region delivers better than planned performance

Written by on 2nd July 2020

Network Rail’s Wales & Western region has delivered better than planned passenger and freight train performance for operators over the last year and exceeded its efficiency savings, according to a new report published by the Office of Rail and Road on Thursday.

The rail regulator’s annual assessment of Network Rail found that delays to passenger trains attributed to its Wales & Western region – which extends from London Paddington to Penzance via Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth as well as to Cardiff and Swansea – were lower than expected – with 1.62 minutes of delay per 100km of train travel – against the forecast level of 1.88 minutes of delay per 100km of train travel. 

Passenger performance was better on its Western route – with Network Rail delivering its best train service for a decade, for all operators – compared to its Wales route, which was severely impacted by bad weather.  The region also delivered good levels of performance for freight operators.  

The annual assessment of Network Rail also found that its Wales & Western region delivered its planned renewals work while exceeding its target (£42m) for efficiency savings by £8m, contributing £50m to Network Rail’s overall efficiency improvements of £385m in the first year of control period 6 (CP6). 

The Region’s health and safety performance was mixed; while lost time to worker injury improved, level crossing risk has slightly risen due the increasing numbers of trains and crossing users. 

John Larkinson, Chief Executive, ORR said: 

“Passenger and freight performance has been better than the levels forecast and its Western route achieved its best train service delivery for a decade.  

“But its Wales route needs to improve on its performance with delays caused by Network Rail leading to worse than expected performance. 

“The region has delivered strongly on efficiency in the first year of its five year plan, with savings above target, which is good news for taxpayers and passengers.  

“We set Network Rail nationally a £3.5bn efficiency improvement challenge over five years and the Wales & Western region has made a good start in contributing to these savings.”