by Keri Allan
18 Jun 2021
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has launched the 2023 Periodic Review (PR23) – the process for determining the funding needed for Britain’s rail network from 2024–2029 – in an open letter.
The ORR evaluates the objectives put forward by the governments of England and Wales, and Scotland, the principal funders of the railway, to make a final decision about how funding should be allocated between the regions and about the deliverable outputs during the upcoming control period.
Network Rail’s operations, maintenance and renewals funding, including related costs such as financial risk funding, traction electricity, industry rates and schedules 4 and 8 for the current five-year control period totalled 41bn GBP (47.85bn euros | 57.07bn USD). This included a requirement to deliver 3.5bn GBP (4.08bn euros | 4.87bn USD) of efficiencies.
The PR23 will determine the level of funding Network Rail/Great British Railways should receive and what it should be required to deliver in return for Control Period 7 (CP7) – the five-year period beginning April 2024.
It will consider the challenges facing the railway and how to support the delivery of a more integrated railway that brings improvements for customers, both passengers and freight. This entails focusing on safety, performance, asset sustainability and efficiency.
It will also consider planned reforms as the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is implemented and provide a framework through which the ORR will hold the infrastructure owner to account for delivery.
The UK government indicated in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail that Great British Railways will be held accountable for delivering commitments that Network Rail enters into for CP7. This ensures there is clear accountability for delivery, transparency and stability during this period of change.
“The ORR's five-year funding settlement for Britain’s rail infrastructure will ensure long-term investment to deliver reliable services for passengers and freight users, and value for money for customers and taxpayers.
“I’m pleased that the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail confirmed its commitment to PR23, and today’s letter begins our process for assessing Britain’s railway infrastructure needs from 2024-2029 as we work together to deliver these ambitious reforms.”
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