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Winsor tells industry to give rail reforms time to work

RAIL REGULATOR Tom Winsor last week appealed to the industry to give the reforms he had put in place time to work before judging his performance.

Winsor said he had been struggling to control Railtrack using the legislation inherited when he took on the job in 1999, but the regulatory regime had been tightened considerably last year.

The regulatory regime has been criticised for its failure to control Railtrack and for its funding prior to the firm going into administration in October.

Winsor said that over the last two and a half years, he had introduced sweeping changes to Railtrack's operating licence to exert a tighter regulatory grip.

These will also apply to whoever takes over Railtrack.

Most of Winsor's reforms only came into effect in July, just after the start of a five year control period for Railtrack.

'Criticisms are about a lack of accountability on the part of the infrastructure provider, about not knowing what the users and funders of the railway get for their money and about black holes down which endless sums of money are poured, ' said Winsor.

'They are all about the regulatory regime for control period 1 (April 1995 to March 2001). For control period 2 (April 2001 to April 2006), we have put these things right.'

Winsor also dismissed claims that there was an overlap between his duties and those of the SRA. There had been speculation that the regulator would have to merge with the SRA after Railtrack went into administration (NCE 11 October 2001).

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