by Keri Allan
26 May 2021
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has found Network Rail’s progress in delivering against its Control Period 6 (CP6) plans broadly on track.
However, in its annual report the regulator did raise concerns regarding the remaining levels of risk funding, particularly in Scotland, and that continued focus is also needed to deliver renewal work.
The annual review noted that in the first two years of CP6, which runs from 2019 to 2024, remaining risk funding has reduced considerably from 2.7bn GBP (3.11bn euros | 3.82bn USD) to 0.8bn GBP (0.92bn euros | 1.13bnUSD), in part due to the impact of Covid-19.
This situation is creating some challenges across Network Rail, particularly in Scotland, where it only has 57m GBP (65.75m euros | 80.56m USD) available to fund 106m GBP (122.28 euros | 149.85m USD) of identified risks. Network Rail Scotland is currently considering changes to its plans to fund this potential gap.
While Network Rail remains broadly on track to renew the railway, some work – such as signalling and telecommunications – has been put back towards the end of CP6, and the ORR has emphasised the need for NR to effectively manage deliverability risks.
Overall, the regulator believes Network Rail’s plans represent good progress towards meeting its challenge to deliver 3.5bn GBP (4.04bn euros | 4.95bn USD) of efficiency improvements over the five-year period and where improvements are needed in Scotland, that it’s taking on board its feedback.
The ORR also highlighted the importance of Network Rail being transparent about changes to its plans and their effects on safety, asset sustainability, performance, and income/expenditure.
“Network Rail has continued to deliver well in extremely challenging and changing circumstances. Work to renew the railway is broadly on track and Network Rail has listened to us and delivered its early efficiency commitments.
“The risk funding arrangements have worked well in challenging circumstances, but we are concerned that there has been a significant decrease in the remaining risk funding, which is particularly acute in Scotland. It must now set out how it will manage this position more clearly, particularly given future uncertainty.”
Coventry Very Light Rail has completed construction on a new test site for its unique track system at Coventry City Council’s Whitley Depot.
The ORR has given authorisation for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to operate its Class 717 fleet with Level 2 ETCS digital signalling.
Rail industry leaders were brought together at Accelerate Rail to discuss the nation’s transition to Great British Railways.
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DB Cargo UK has collaborated with Group Technical Support and Toton TMD to test the impact of using HVO to power locomotives.
The Department for Transport has extended Avanti West Coast's contract for 6 months following the operator's improved performance.
Greater Manchester has announced a new devolution deal with the UK government to grant it more influence over regional rail services.
Train operator, Avanti West Coast has launched a low-cost Superfare 'standby' ticket for flexible travellers.
Over 40bn GBP will be invested in the UK's transport network over the next two years, with a focus on delivering the first phase of HS2.
The UK government is working with Network Rail and Northern Rail to restore regular train services to the Northumberland Line from 2024.
Research from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) reveals significant potential to electrify UK rail freight operations.
Transport for London (TfL) has appointed Morgan Sindall Infrastructure as the main delivery partner to enlarge the DLR's Beckton Depot.
The two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) digging HS2’s longest tunnels has passed Amersham shaft on their 10 mile drive under the Chilterns.
TfWM and the WMRE have announced plans to explore the feasibility for five new railway stations within the West Midlands.
Stadler has successfully delivered the first of 46 new Tyne and Wear Metro trains to Nexus' Gosforth Metro Depot in the North of England.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has visited the new ticket hall at Bank Underground station, which completes its 700 million GBP upgrade.
Network Rail has selected SNC-Lavalin Group to deliver signalling renewal projects across the south of England.
The East Coast Digital Programme has further progressed, thanks to new signalling in the Wood Green – New Barnet area of north London.
GWR is to buy several assets from Vivarail, securing the future of trials of fast-charge battery technology.
Engineers have begun work to alleviate a long-time bottleneck on the Hope Valley Railway line at Bamford as part of upgrade project.
HS2 has proposed changes to the construction design of its Manchester route following work with the UK Environment Agency.
Avanti West Coast has begun testing its new Hitachi fleet on the West Coast Main Line. The trains are due to enter service later this year.
Network Rail is refurbishing the Chepstow Viaduct bridge over the river Wye to ensure the longevity of the Severn Estuary railway line.
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The High Speed Rail Group and HS2 Ltd have both hit back at a report created by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust about HS2's environmental impact.
Network Rail has started work to upgrade Derby station’s platform one, with resurfacing work underway to improve the platform’s resilience.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper set out the government's key priorities for the railways in his George Bradshaw address on 7 February.
Network Rail and TfL have announced a new partnership that will see thousands of new homes and commercial properties built across London.
Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission approval for HS2's Washwood Heath Depot, north-east of Birmingham city centre.
The UK and Welsh governments are working on a 2.7m GBP study to explore options for new rail stations and services between England and Wales.
A feasibility project led by Porterbrook and Eminox to to help reduce NOx emissions in enclosed stations has delivered positive results.
Scotland's Transport Minister has opened Inverness Airport rail station, with passenger trains arriving and departing from 3 February.
The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and the University of Sheffield are developing an AI tool to predict low adhesion track conditions.
HS2's tunnel boring machines, Florence and Cecilia have passed the halfway point on their 10-mile journey excavating the Chiltern tunnels.
HS2 Ltd’s contractor, Align JV has installed the last of 292 concrete piles, forming the foundations for the UK’s longest railway bridge.
Network Rail has upgraded Banbury train depot to keep trains moving on the Chiltern main line during HS2 construction.
Work has begun on the expansion of the West Midlands Metro depot, which includes extended and updated workshop and maintenance facilities.
Network Rail is upgrading almost three miles of railway tracks to improve the reliability of trains running through Scarborough.
Progress is being made towards Network Rail’s goal to upgrade the UK railway’s ageing telecoms infrastructure.
The first five-metre-tall V-shaped pier for the Curzon No. 3 Viaduct into HS2's Curzon Street Station in Birmingham has been installed.
Varamis Rail has collaborated with Network Rail to launch a 'zero-carbon freight service' between Scotland and the Midlands.
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The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has confirmed the first instalment of its 72 million GBP investment in Coventry Very Light Rail.
A total of 130 metres of double track has been installed along Lower Bull Street as part of the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension project.
GB Railfreight (GBRf) has signed a new 10-year locomotive leasing deal with rolling stock leasing company, Akiem.
EMR and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre are developing a simulation tool to improve depot efficiency.
The West Coast mainline near Carstairs has been reopened for passenger services after emergency engineering works was completed.
Network Rail has completed a series of improvement works for the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.
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Northern Rail has upgraded its TrainCare Centre in Hull to increase its maintenance and servicing capacity and improve service reliability.
HS2 has revealed designs for the Curzon 2 bridge: a 150-metre section of viaduct on the approach to Birmingham’s new Curzon Street Station.
Construction is now complete on the Metro Flow project in Tyne and Wear, enabling contractors to being testing and commissioning.
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Network Rail has launched an audio guide to help blind and partially sighted people navigate their way around Bristol Temple Meads Station.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has approved the introduction of Grand Union Trains between London, Cardiff and South West Wales from 2024.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has visited the new trains currently undergoing testing for the Glasgow Subway in Scotland.
HS2’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) Dorothy has begun its second one-mile tunnel bore under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.
GB Railfreight (GBRf) has invested 4.7 million GBP in a new maintenance depot in Peterborough alongside the UK's East Coast Mainline.
HS2 's Euston site construction team Mace Dragados Joint Venture is trialling a hydrogen fuel cell to power a fully electric JCB telehandler.
In his November column Jonn Elldge considers what the recent Budget means for the rail sector in terms of investment in projects such as HS2.
Transport for London (TfL) has launched a trial of a new bridging device, a ramp specifically designed for step-free stations.
The first of Avanti West Coast's new fleet of Hitachi bi-mode trains has begun dynamic testing at Network Rail’s RIDC.
Network Rail has announced that major improvement works are set to take place on the Bakerloo and London Overground lines.
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Transport for Wales has installed the first electrical lines on the Core Valley Lines to power the new South Wales Metro.
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Network Rail has installed the first electric wires between Manchester and Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.
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Northern has completed its first ‘Intelligent Train,’ installing technology such as LIDAR horizon scanning cameras on a Class 150 unit.
Network Rail has commenced work on the next phase of electrification along the Midland Main Line between London and Wigston, Leicestershire.
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The GCRE has officially acquired the former Nant Helen opencast site and Onllwyn Washery in South Wales, paving the way for construction.
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hyperTunnel has revealed the world’s first underground structure constructed entirely by robots as part of a project for Network Rail.
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Alstom has signed a new services contract with UK rail franchise Govia Thameslink Railway valued at £256 million.
West Midlands Railway's (WMR) new Class 196 train fleet has commenced passenger services on the Shrewsbury Line.
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Eversholt Rail, Southeastern and Hitachi Rail are upgrading the Class 395 high-speed Javelin trains that operate between London and Kent.
A new interchange route between Bank station’s Northern line concourse and DLR concourse and platforms has been opened.
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Varamis Rail has signed an agreement to lease a Class 321 Swift Express freight train from Eversholt Rail.
Network Rail has announced that its 4.5 million GBP project to upgrade the tracks at Newcastle Central Station is now complete.
The DfT and FirstGroup have agreed on a short-term contract extension for Avanti West Coast, which will last until the end of March 2023.
HS2 has launched the first of six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig more than 26 miles of tunnels under London.
HS2 Ltd has opened applications for tech start-ups and SMEs to join the fifth group of its Innovation Accelerator programme.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Bond Street Elizabeth line station will open on 24 October.
Stadler presented its IPEMU - independently powered EMU - at InnoTrans today in the presence of Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
Stadler formally presented its FLIRT tri-mode and CITYLINK tram-train for Transport for Wales at InnoTrans today.
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