THE Office of Rail and Road has warned Network Rail that it may be in breach of its licence, after the regulator uncovered major flaws in the way projects are costed, managed and carried out.
In a letter to NR group strategy director Paul Plummer, the ORR’s director of railway planning and performance Alan Price said “our preliminary view is that NR may not have done, and is not doing, everything reasonably practicable to comply with condition 1 of its network licence in relation to the delivery of its enhancements programme”.
A review has been under way for more than a year: the ORR first raised concerns about ‘the high number of slipping and/or missed milestones’ in July 2014.
It emerged in June that NR’s budget for the five year control period which started last year will not be enough to finance all its enhancement projects, particularly some electrification schemes. The transport secretary announced that two would be ‘paused’ in June, having told MPs that he had only known about problems affecting one of them — electrifying the Midland Main Line between Bedford, Nottingham and Sheffield on 15 June, some time after the general election.