The Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed that the UK’s only high speed line - High Speed 1 - is to be regulated .
ORR chief executive Bill Emery said: “The UK’s first high speed line must provide a service which is safe, meets the needs of rail users and also gives value for money.
“We are committed to supporting international and domestic passenger services, and also using the full potential for freight services.
“We will work with neighbouring regulators and infrastructure managers to develop the Channel Tunnel corridor as a whole, and through our role in regulating the national network and HS1, we expect operators to make the best use of the capacity that is available,” he said.
In October this year ORR was given new responsibilities by the government for HS1 - the rail link between London St. Pancras and the Channel Tunnel - to ensure that the operation of the high speed line would be subject to normal regulatory supervision.
ORR expects that the new HS1 regulatory model will follow the way in which ORR regulates the national network with due recognition of the differences between HS1 and the national network, and HS1 Limited and Network Rail.
The new regulation of HS1 will be underpinned by:
- pre-approval of track access by train operators to use the line;
- a periodic review every five years of the track access, maintenance and renewal charges; and
- oversight of the effective stewardship of the network by HS1 Limited. This requires the company to secure the operation, maintenance, renewal, and replacement of the railway infrastructure in accordance with industry best practice.