Two reviews launched, while Budget document reveals plan to launch new client body to redevelop Network Rail land
Network Rail’s new chairman Peter Hendy has been told by the government to “do what is necessary” to get the infrastructure client’s spending programme back on track, as the chief executive of HS1 is drafted in to do a further review of the body.
According to the Summer Budget document, Hendy has been instructed to report to the Department for Transport by autumn this year with a plan as to how to get the rail investment programme “back onto a sustainable footing” and make it a “more focussed commercial body.”
Building on the King’s Cross and Stratford station redevelopments, the government will also establish a dedicated body to focus on generating sales from public land and property in the rail network to help bring down the budget deficit.
Also revealed in the Budget documents, Nicola Shaw, chief executive of HS1, has been drafted in by the government to advise it on its approach to financing Network Rail and its long-term future. She will work closely with Hendy and is expected to finish advising the government before the 2016 Budget.
The government said it will “change the way it channels public money through the industry” by directing it through train operating companies, rather than direct from central government coffers.
Also announced in the Budget document is the government’s plan to “change the way it channels public money” into Network Rail, by directing it through train operating companies, rather than direct from central government coffers. It says the plan will “make best use of the scarce capacity on the rail network.”
Hendy’s review follows a scathing report into Network Rail’s spending plan for 2014 to 2019 by regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) in June, which said Network Rail had missed programme delivery targets and that some projects were already facing delays.
According to the ORR, Network Rail has missed 30 of its 84 milestones on projects to enhance the network, with renewal work also behind schedule. It said 77% of overhead line renewals works were behind schedule.