This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine, Issue 1 2023.
Reviewing the High-Level Output Statement from the Secretary of State for Transport, laying out the desired objectives from Government to the Office of Rail and Road for Control Period 7, it is clear that the industry will be challenged to deliver outstanding performance, accessibility for all and world-class environmental management. All while improving efficiency, operational effectiveness and ensuring a solid underpinning of safety management.
The big picture states that rail will play a prominent part in the levelling-up and green agendas for the UK will be very welcome across the industry and society-at-large. Twin this with strong statements on creating supply chain stability, SME spend and the visibility of project pipelines, there is much to be positive about. It cannot be ignored, however, that there is a significant portion of the document given over to the need to modernise and drive ever-greater efficiency into the system.
Strong statements on the need to improve long-term asset sustainability will undoubtedly drive improved punctuality and provide the financial efficiency required for a world-class railway. Strong collaboration with local authorities will move towards delivery of a timetable that meets local needs and will cement the devolved railway’s regional relationships. R&D will be hard-wired to the objectives in the HLOS and will be delivered collaboratively between academia, industry and the Rail Safety and Standards Board. This will be monitored using a data-driven, closed-loop approach of the effectiveness of innovation expenditure – with this statement on demonstrable benefit giving an indication of where the industry will need to apply efforts in the next control period.
Viper Innovations welcomes the objectives set out in the HLOS and the spirit of continuous improvement that the document is undoubtedly striving for. Driving forward modern maintenance and asset management practice and contributing fully to a team-based approach to a data-driven railway is in Viper’s DNA. The requirement to demonstrably deliver forward-thinking asset management and innovation, best-in-class safety performance with excellent value for money mirrors our vision of the rail industry.
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