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ORR finds 'series of issues' with Network Rail capability

The rail regulator has raised questions about Network Rail’s ability to hit its control period 5 targets.

The Office of Rail and Road said an investigation had highlighted “a series of issues relating to Network Rail’s capability to deliver the major projects programme by 2019”.

The infrastructure operator is in charge of more than £12bn of projects to improve the railway in the five years to 31 March 2019. But it is being investigated by the regulator after failing to hit 30 of 84 enhancement milestones in 2014/15.

An ORR spokesperson said: “Following an investigation into causes for the delays and missed project milestones, the regulator found a series of issues relating to Network Rail’s capability to deliver the major projects programme by 2019. 

“Network Rail is taking steps towards addressing gaps in its capability and planning. The company must demonstrate how it will adopt good practice across its business in delivery of enhancements across the network, and how it will robustly implement these to deliver for its customers and taxpayers.

“We will be making final conclusions on this investigation including any enforcement action in October”.

Francis Paonessa, managing director infrastructure projects at Network Rail, said: “Since 2009, Network Rail has successfully delivered over 5,000 projects worth more than £15bn. The projects set before us for our current five-year funding period to 2019 were bigger and more complex than ever and required a step-change in delivery – both for the company and its supply chain.

“Despite this challenge, over three-quarters of our regulatory project milestones have been delivered to time or within weeks of target. But we know we can and must do better which is why, earlier this year, we set up a special board-led task force to strengthen our major project delivery. The task force has produced a detailed improvement plan that is already underway and good progress is being made.”

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