ORR failed to do its job suf­fi­ciently, ad­mits Glais­ter

Rail (UK) - - Network -

Of­fice of Rail and Road Chair­man Pro­fes­sor Stephen Glais­ter ad­mit­ted to the Trans­port Se­lect Com­mit­tee’s in­quiry into timetable changes that the reg­u­la­tor should have been “read­ier” to en­force li­cence con­di­tions on Net­work Rail, ahead of the May timetable change.

He ad­mit­ted that the reg­u­la­tor was “com­pla­cent” about not point­ing out that im­por­tant changes to the May 2018 timetable were made af­ter the dead­line of Novem­ber 2017, although it did be­gin to in­ter­vene in Jan­uary when it spot­ted that NR would be un­able to meet its li­cence obli­ga­tion to pro­vide timeta­bles to pas­sen­gers and train op­er­a­tors 12 weeks be­fore trains run.

“What we did not spot, and nor did any­body else, was that that was a sig­nal that things were very much be­hind sched­ule, and that it would cause the com­pres­sion of the timetable plan­ning process and cre­ate un­sur­mount­able risks to the de­liv­ery of the timetable,” said Glais­ter.

“As it turned out, the in­dus­try - in those two ar­eas - was over­whelmed, and we have the out­come that we are fa­mil­iar with. The ma­jor con­clu­sion of our in­quiry was that it was the fail­ure to stick to an agreed timetable that ul­ti­mately led to the chaos on May 20.”

Asked by TSC Chair­man Lil­ian Green­wood whether the reg­u­la­tor had failed to do its job suf­fi­ciently, he said: “Yes, I agree that we should have looked to ways of be­ing sharper on en­forc­ing those li­cence con­di­tions, and in fu­ture we will. That is part of the rec­om­men­da­tions we will be look­ing for, both for our­selves and in our ad­vice to the Sec­re­tary of State about what should be done.

“I am not say­ing that one can never miss a dead­line, but if one is go­ing to miss a dead­line, one has to do it in a very con­sid­ered and con­trolled way, with good rea­sons and good mit­i­ga­tion.”

ORR Di­rec­tor of Strat­egy and Pol­icy Dan Brown said that had the Thames­link In­dus­try Readi­ness Board (IRB) been in place much ear­lier, timetable dis­rup­tion in May might have been avoided.

“I feel that the IRB should have been em­bed­ded in the Thames­link pro­gramme much ear­lier than it was,” he said.

“The ad­vice to pur­sue phas­ing did not come un­til af­ter the cre­ation of the IRB, un­til af­ter that fo­rum ex­isted and the in­dus­try was able to meet to con­sider and pro­vide that ad­vice to the DfT. Had some­thing like the IRB been in place much ear­lier, the phas­ing de­ci­sion could have been made in time to be re­flected much ear­lier in the May 20 timetable.”

On whether an ear­lier de­ci­sion to cre­ate the IRB would have made a ma­te­rial dif­fer­ence to the out­come of the timetable change, Brown replied: “Yes, it clearly would have made a ma­te­rial dif­fer­ence to the out­come, be­cause the May timetable could have been planned from the very start at a fre­quency of 18 trains an hour and the prob­lems could have been ironed out.

“We might still have been sit­ting here talk­ing about dis­rup­tions to the North­ern net­work, which hap­pened for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, but the prob­lems in Govia Thames­link Rail­way could have been sub­stan­tially avoided.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.