Today signals the start of significant changes at Network Rail designed to address passengers’ top priority of performance and punctuality. The not-for-profit company’s chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Today sees us implement the first phase of changes to our organisation which will demonstrate that we are on the side of passengers and freight users.”
The changes will shift power and decision making into smaller, regional organisations that are closer to customers and give local managers the levers and authority to tackle performance issues head-on. Further structural and cultural changes form part of the plan, as well as new training to address historic skills gaps.
Statistics show that from a high in 2012, train performance has been in decline (from 91.6% of trains on-time* to 86.3% today) and the National Rail Passenger Survey** tells us that punctuality and reliability are passengers’ top priority.
Andrew Haines said:
“Addressing the decline in train performance for our passengers is our priority and I’m pleased to say we’re already beginning to see signs of improvement. Moreover, the changes we are making today will help us to build on this and deliver the service that passengers and freight users deserve.”
“We’ve made these changes as a major part of our plan to provide the best possible service for passengers and freight users, to deliver the promises we’ve made for the next five years and to improve the way we work together as an industry.
“The five new regions will be devolved further into 14 routes to drive focus on what matters most to our customers – a more punctual, reliable and efficient railway.”
“While I can bring change to Network Rail and get my organisation to refocus on the passenger and freight user and what matters most to them, change is needed across our entire industry to remove red tape and provide clear accountability for delivering a safe and reliable railway that better serves the people of Britain.”
Network Rail’s five new regions – Eastern, North West & Central, Scotland’s Railway, Southern, and Wales and Western – went ‘live’ today. The new routes will come into operation later in the summer with further changes planned to continue to devolve power and authority from the centre to the routes and regions.
*on-time: as measured by the public performance measure – the percentage of commuting and regional trains that arrive within five minutes, and long-distance services arriving within 10 minutes.
** Transport Focus consults more than 50,000 passengers a year to produce the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) – a network-wide picture of passengers’ satisfaction with rail travel. Passenger opinions of train services are collected twice a year from a representative sample of journeys. NRPS is the largest published rail passenger satisfaction survey in the world. It supplies an official statistic that is used as a key performance indicator in most rail franchises.
Network Rail’s current eight geographically based routes map across to their respective new regions from today. The new regions and their managing directors are:
Alex Hynes, managing director, Scotland’s Railway.
John Halsall, managing director, Southern.
Mark Langman, managing director, Wales and Western.
Rob McIntosh, managing director, Eastern.
Tim Shoveller, managing director, North West and Central.
Until the new position of route director formally comes into being later in the summer the following interim appointments have been made, effective from 24 June:
South East – Sam Chessex, acting RMD.
Wessex – David Dickson, acting RMD.
London North Western – David Golding, acting RMD.
Western – Mike Gallop, acting RMD.
The following routes will continue with existing arrangements in place:
Wales and Borders – Bill Kelly will retain his existing RMD Wales and Borders role on an interim basis.
Anglia – Meliha Duymaz will retain her existing RMD Anglia role on an interim basis.
London North East & East Midlands – Rob McIntosh will retain his RMD London North East & East Midlands role on an interim basis, alongside his new substantive role as Managing Director, Eastern region.
Recruitment is ongoing for the new route director roles, which will be key members of new regional leadership team.
Scotland – Alex Hynes will take up the Managing Director, Scotland’s Railway role and the role of managing director Scotrail Alliance will cease to exist.
STE – Martin Frobisher will take up the group Safety, Technical and Engineering director role. This role is interim until the group engineering director Technical Authority role is introduced in phase three of the changes next year.
Network Services – Nick King will take up the group director, Network Services role on 15 July and Paul McMahon will act in the role on an interim basis from 24 June.
NR High Speed – Katie Frost’s role remains unchanged as managing director of Network Rail High Speed.
The 14th route (a change since the original announcement on the creation of regions and routes) is West Coast Mainline South Route, covering the West Coast main line from Crewe to London Euston and has been created following further feedback and consultation with customers.
Network Rail’s drive to put passengers first gathers pace as new Southern region goes live
The first major milestone of Network Rail’s drive to put passengers first has been marked today with the formation of a new Southern region, which will benefit from a record investment of more than £6 billion over the next five years to improve train services for passengers.
The current Wessex and South East routes have joined in a move which will shift power and decision making into smaller, regional organisations that are closer to customers and will give local managers the levers and authority to tackle performance issues head-on.
John Halsall, who has served as managing director of both the South East and Wessex routes previously, has been appointed to lead the Southern region and will oversee further changes planned to continue to devolve power and authority from the centre to the routes and regions later this summer.
John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail’s Southern region, said:
“I’m delighted to be leading the new Southern region into this exciting period, where we have a real opportunity to deliver better services for passengers and freight users and improve how we work together as an industry.
“Putting passengers first and addressing the decline in train performance have to be our priorities, and these changes will help us deliver the better service that passengers and freight users deserve.
“Our new region means we will be able to be more supportive of the routes, build on how we work with our train and freight operators and regional stakeholders and become a company that’s easy to work with.”
The Southern region is the busiest region in the country, with 700 million passenger journeys a year and more than 7,000 passenger and freight services every weekday.
Around £6.3 billion will be invested over the next five years to operate, maintain and renew the railway across the region, which also serves as a vital freight link, with more than 266,000 tonnes of freight passing through each week.
The four routes within the new Southern region: Wessex, Sussex, Kent and Network Rail High Speed, will form later this summer and will continue to deliver their passenger-focussed business plans for the next five years.
The Wessex and South East routes will retain a managing director until the route director roles formally come into being later this summer.
Sam Chessex will serve as acting route managing director for South East from today with David Dickson filling the role for the Wessex route.