Rail Partners response to ORR's PR23 Final Determination

Commenting on the publication of the PR23 Final Determination, John Thomas, Rail Partners’ director of policy, said:

‘This periodic review has taken place during a challenging period for the rail industry as it continues to recover from the pandemic and the impacts of industrial action, and with the continuing need to improve the customer experience.

‘Against a backdrop of high inflation and significant pressure on the public purse, the £43.1bn made available by government to fund Network Rail’s activity in CP7 is welcome, although inevitably rail will need to make difficult trade-offs, as other sectors have done, to fit the fiscal envelope.

‘While ORR has listened to industry concerns in some areas, given the importance of performance to passenger and freight customers, we are disappointed to see that CP7 performance trajectories have been softened from those set out earlier this year in the draft determination.

‘The regulator must hold Network Rail to account to ensure the efficient delivery of infrastructure maintenance and renewals, that performance targets are met, and that we rise to the challenge of extreme weather resulting from climate change, which is having an increasing impact on rail infrastructure.

‘For freight operators and customers, the regulated freight growth targets in CP7 are a step in the right direction. As an industry it is critical to develop plans on how best to meet these targets, ensuring that we remain on track to decarbonise our logistics supply chains, and hit the longer-term freight growth target that will be announced by government shortly.’

Notes to editors