Osborne Clarke's guide to recent reports and reviews of the GB rail industry: a time to take stock
Published on 20th Jan 2016
Over the last six months a range of different reports have considered the rail industry from various angles: its functions, costs, structure, financing, performance and competitiveness.
The short term reasons for much of this work were the high profile delays and overspend in Network Rail’s enhancement programme, specified by government and approved by the Office of Rail Regulation in its periodic review (PR13) only two years earlier. In spite of the initial trigger, we believe that now is a good time to take stock of a rail industry which is two decades into its privatisation, and to consider what aspects are ripe for improvement.
This simple chronological guide is intended to help you keep track of the reports, reviews, policy projects and studies, recently published or concluded.
|Report||Aims||Comments and Current Status||Key dates and actions|
|“Passenger rail services: competition policy project”
17 July 2015
|The project considers
whether increasing competition in passenger rail services could lead to
better value for money and improve service quality.
|Various models were
suggested, including increasing open access operations, overlapping franchise
routes and multiple operator franchises.
|4 January 2016 – ORR published its evaluation of the CMA’s
25 January 2016 – Consultation on ORR’s evaluation closes
March 2016 – CMA to publish final policy document
|“System operation – a consultation on making better use of the
13 August 2015
(Office of Rail
|This consultation looks
at how Network Rail operates the rail network, how decisions by both Network
Rail and others are made about the use of the network, and its expansion over
time. ORR calls these activities “system operation”.
|This consultation will
inform ORR’s preparation for the next periodic review of Network Rail (PR18)
covering control period 6, from 2019 to 2024.
The Shaw Review (see
|16 October 2015 – Consultation closed.
Conclusions on system
The outcome of the Shaw
|“The future shape and financing of Network Rail” – Scoping
Report of the Shaw Review
12 November 2015
|This two-part report,
led by Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive of High Speed 1, will develop
recommendations for the long term future shape and financing of Network Rail
for the ten year period from 2019 to 2029.
|The published scoping
report provides the context for the current industry structure; explains the
perspectives from which the review will undertake its work: customer,
devolution and growth; and develops the options for reshaping and financing
|Winter 2015/6 – Consultation with industry and government is
being undertaken presently.
Spring 2016 – The detailed report with final proposals is
|“Network Rail’s 2014 – 2019 investment programme”
16 November 2015
|The House of Commons
Committee of Public Accounts reviewed the planning and delivery of Network
Rail’s investment programme, looking at Network Rail, ORR and DfT.
The report was driven
|The Committee concluded
that the investment plans could not have been delivered within the budget
which DfT, Network Rail and ORR agreed two years ago in the periodic review
It recommended that for
Criticised ORR’s review
|No key dates, however
the recommendations will largely be addressed in the responses to the Bowe
Report, Shaw Review and the DfT review of rail regulation.
|“Replanning Network Rail’s investment programme” – Sir
Peter Hendy review
25 November 2015
|Considered how Network
Rail can deliver its enhancement programme for Control Period 5 (2014 to
2019) to overcome high profile delays and overspend in the last two years.
|The review concluded
that the vast majority of enhancement schemes can be delivered by 2019.
No schemes have been
|2016 – Network Rail will raise £1.8bn through sales of non-core
assets (such as property and telecom network bandwidth).
|“Bowe Report into the planning of Network Rail’s Enhancements
25 November 2015
|Dame Collette Bowe’s
report investigated what went wrong in the planning of the enhancement
programme for control period 5 and made recommendations for effective future planning
|December 2015 – DfT launched a review of ORR (see below)|
|“Rail regulation: call for evidence”
10 December 2015
|As for the Bowe Report,
this consultation invites evidence and views from all interested parties on
the effectiveness of the GB regulatory regime for the railways and on
|This review will have
particular regard to:
|15 January 2016 – Consultation closes
For consistency, this
If you want to find out more about any of these issues, please get in touch with one of our rail industry experts.