Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

SRA future in doubt as NAO deals another blow


FURTHER QUESTIONS have been raised over the future of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) this week, following a critical report from the government's spending watchdog.

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into Network Rail has identified 'serious challenges' in Network Rail's structure and in the rail industry in general.

The NAO highlighted problems with Network Rail's broadbased accountability and in particular its relationship with the Strategic Rail Authority.

Given that SRA 'has few direct levers', it questioned how it can manage its exposure to credit risk arising out of its support for Network Rail's longterm debt finance; and how it provides the rail industry with a strategic lead.

And on a more fundamental level it questioned how the SRA's role sits with 'the desire for it [Network Rail] to be classified as a private sector business.'

The NAO verdict comes after rail regulator Tom Winsor and the SRA itself recommended that the agency be axed in submissions to Alistair Darling's rail review (News last week).

In contrast the NAO found that Network Rail was following 'a prudent and realistic accounting treatment of operation, maintenance and renewal expenditure'. It added that 'it is also improving its business planning to prioritise and control the unit costs of work that will provide long-term benefits.'

NAO believes further improvements are achievable and says Network Rail's management should develop longer term output-based efficiency and financial measures, such as bringing down the network cost per kilometre per passenger carried.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.