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Network Rail Monopoly Threatened Over Performance

June 2008.

The UK's Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has hinted that Network Rail's monopoly of Britain's rail infrastructure could be under threat if it fails to meet new targets. According to The Times, ORR Chief Executive Bill Emery has indicated the rail operator has one chance to prove the current industry structure works. Network Rail has been set a target of ensuring 92.6% of trains operate on time by 2014, a 90% improvement from its present form. In the past two years, the ORR has fined Network Rail twice for severe delays caused by engineering works. Most recently, part of a new bridge collapsed on a track near London Liverpool Street station, leaving thousands of commuters facing major delays. Network Rail is currently preparing a business plan for Control Period 4, expected to be published in March 2009, which will then run until 2014. The company has recently signed a contract for a new insurance programme that will provide additional cover during the period, Railway Technology reports.

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