'Nobody took charge', says major report on rail timetable chaos

PA Wire  PA Images

From 20 May, passengers suffered delays and cancellations after the rail industry attempted to introduce the biggest timetable change in a generation.

The Department for Transport described the review as the most significant since British Rail was privatised by John Major's government in the mid-1990s. Timetables have been rewritten a few times since then in repeated efforts to retrieve the situation.

He added: "Central to the issues were that good intentions and over-optimism within the rail industry about its ability to recover missed deadlines left no time to uncover and fix problems".

"A key issue, found by the Inquiry, is that there is an apparent gap in industry responsibility and accountability for managing systemic risks, and that needs to change". The ORR says that needs to change.

"The industry, as a whole, failed to foresee that these combined factors created a serious risk that the revised timetable could fail", the report said.

The interim report from the regulator said both the DfT and the rail industry "placed engineering and planning concerns ahead of serving its passengers".

The System Operator (SO) function within Network Rail was in the best position to understand and manage the risks, but did not take sufficient action, especially in the critical period of autumn 2017.

Hartley-Brewer asked: "Given how much more taxpayers money is going in, would we not be reasonable to expect that we would have the sort of rail network we see sometimes in western Europe, where they've got nationalised services?". It will it take into account the findings of his final report at the end of the year.

The DfT said the review would consider all parts of the sector, including accountability, the franchising system and value for money for passengers and taxpayers.

It is not yet clear if the DfT will be ruling anything out, although renationalisation is unlikely to be high on the list.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling - who had previously insisted: "I don't run the railways" - told the BBC's Today programme that the problem was system-wide and that it was his job to "make sure it doesn't happen again". On-going industrial action in a dispute over the role of train guards has meant further disruption to schedules. And neither GTR nor Northern were properly aware of or prepared for the problems in delivering the timetable and did not do enough to provide accurate information to passengers when disruption occurred, the report said. It is vital that this review leaves no stone unturned and makes bold recommendations for the future'.

There has been widespread industry reaction this morning.

The Yorkshire Post says: Rail failures of responsibility.

He added: "The structural issues highlighted in this report underline the need for the wide-ranging, root and branch rail review we have been calling for to deliver meaningful reform".

He will publish his conclusions next year, with the government expected to implement reforms to the railway system from 2020.

"The introduction of a badly botched new timetable in May, alongside delayed infrastructure improvements, turned the lives of thousands of passengers upside down".

Events and decisions taken before January meant it was "probably unavoidable" that the launch would fail, according to the report.

In response to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) Inquiry's findings that passengers in the city-region were "let down by rail industry failures" during this summer's chaos on the railway, Tthe Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes has said the findings make "grim reading". This report from the rail regulator is merely the latest to highlight the dysfunctional buck passing which goes on across the rail industry.

The Rail Freight Group called for freight to be "at the heart" of the DfT's review. Executive director Maggie Simpson said: 'Across the country, our members are hungry for more rail freight, but it can be hard to deliver their expectations when there is an ever-greater focus on integrating track and passenger services.

The RMT dubbed the ORR report as a "whitewash".

In June, he caused anger among MPs by claiming "I don't run railways".

Prof Glaister told the BBC that the ORR itself had failings - like everyone else in the industry. The railway in its current form is not working for passengers.

New figures revealed have revealed that punctuality of services has fallen to a 12-year low, while fares have risen by above inflation. It is understandable that passengers have lost faith and trust.

Related News:



Most liked

Joshua v Povetkin: Fear of defeat keeps Anthony Joshua on edge
I work alongside people who have the same strengths". "It's time to put on a performance". I just signed my end of the deal and the contract for the Wilder fight.

Spiders have blanketed a Greek lagoon in 300-meter cobwebs
Spiders take advantage of these conditions, they mate and create a whole new generation, writes Daily Hellas. There are hundreds of species of these spiders that live in various parts of the world.

Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal engagement: Priyanka and Nick turn heads in Italy
Their official engagement celebrations will kick off today, September 21 and carry on till Sunday, September 23. The power couple opted for traditionals for the engagement ceremony and looked awesome together.

UK regulator fines Equifax Ltd 500,000 pounds for 2017…
Authorities have also found "significant problems with [the company's] data retention, IT system patching and audit procedures". The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO ) has imposed the fine following an investigation into the breach.

Florence spawns reported tornadoes in Virginia, leaves at least 1 dead
Then all of a sudden, we here the whoosh. "A minute later we came back out and all the trees were down", said one neighbor. WTVR says multiple people saw the tornado touch the ground and the resulting damage was documented online.

Australian Regulator Warns Retail Investors against "Misleading" Cryptocurrency ICOs
It is similar to crowdfunding, except that the company issues a cryptocurrency and sells the tokens to investors to raise money. The UK government's Treasury Committee this week released a report calling the cryptocurrency market a "Wild West situation".

Google reveals new Daydream controllers for Lenovo Mirage Solo
Google gives a nice little example of this in its blog with two people able to play ping pong through the VR headset . Some developers are already working with the controllers and those who would like to can apply here.

'Don't go cold turkey' to quit smoking
The advice for committed smokers who can not quit is to switch completely to e-cigarettes will significantly benefit their health. Despite new smokers starting and ex-smokers relapsing, there are now 1 million fewer smokers in England since 2014.

US, Mexico 'very, very close' to reaching deal without Canada
The latest talks have also hinged on dispute panels meant to handle anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases. A USTR spokeswoman did not immediately respond to queries about Lighthizer's United Nations meeting schedule.

Synopsis Day 5: Bigg Boss throws a new 'bomb' on the housemates
According to the DNA sources, Dhawan will divide the contestants in two groups and give them a task of stitching pillows. In the task bhajan king Anup Jalota will play Rangeela Rajkumar and the selected girls are his queens aka ranis.

Kareena Kapoor Khan's birthday: Top 7 highlights from her bday celebration
And last night, both the Kapoor and Khan families came together to celebrate the occasion with the sweetest little house party. As the clock struck 12, the Veere Di Wedding actor cut a customised cake which had "You are our rockstar" written on it.

Jack Ma makes a grim prediction about US-China trade war
He said business opportunities are still bountiful in the world, such as in Europe, South America, Russia and Africa. Ma, however, said Alibaba "will not stop working hard to contribute to the healthy development of China-US trade".

Hellboy Writer Confirms Diablo Series in the Works at Netflix
Hollywood may have a spotty record with video game movies, but that doesn't mean it won't stop trying. But Diablo's sparse plot and lush visuals could provide the flawless blank canvas for a series.

The great mystery of the HMS Endeavour may finally be solved
In 1778, with French naval vessels approaching, the British scuttled 13 ships off Newport, Rhode Island to serve as a barricade. It announced this week that it had narrowed the search for Endeavour to one, or possibly two, archaeological sites.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Testing For Birds Of Prey
Birds of Prey movie is gearing up to give Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn the maximum amount of screen time. Be still my heart! Warner Bros. reportedly intends to decide on the castings in the next two weeks.