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Regulator calls for industry unity for CP5

Outgoing chair of the Office of Rail Regulator (ORR) has said that the rail industry should pull together and present the government with a menu of possible outputs before it publishes its demands for rail from 2014-2019.

"We should say to government, 'This is what the railways can deliver, and this can deliver better value for money'. The government can then be informed by the best of this industry," he said.

"At the moment under the High Level Output Specification (HLOS), there is a lot of delay between Network Rail and the department, and Network Rail's business plan is not an industry plan," he said.

Ironically, Bolt's plan would mean less work for the regulator. "But we would still monitor spending and outputs," he said.

Network Rail is currently in an increasingly acrimonious dispute with the regulator over spending for CP4, which runs from 2009-2014. The ORR say Network Rail needs £26.5bn to achieve outputs the government set last year in HLOS.

Network Rail says it needs around £1bn more.

The ORR wants Network Rail to reduce operating, maintenance and renewals costs through efficiencies by 21% by 2014. Network Rail proposes a figure of around 13%.

Bolt also said that assuming the new schemes planned or in the pipeline go ahead, which could include Crossrail and new high speed lines, cash available to Network Rail under CP4 would be: "The best it is going to get, unless Crossrail doesn't happen for some reason.

"CP5 [2014-2019] will be very tight for the industry," he said.

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