The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has raised concerns about Network Rail’s ability to engage with its supply chain, in an end of year statement.
The transport regulator has announced that it is “reviewing how efficiently Network Rail is engaging with the supply chain given lower than anticipated work orders and the current 10% underspend of renewals work”.
Network Rail has previously attributed the 10% underspend to the Department for Transport (DfT) delaying a pipeline of enhancement projects.
The government finally revealed its £10bn rail enhancements pipeline, listing 58 projects in October.
The ORR also raised concerns about Network Rail’s plans to improve renewals efficiency in a bid to save £3.5bn, however said it was on track to deliver £391M of efficiency savings during 2019-20.
ORR chief executive John Larkinson said: “We have seen encouraging progress from Network Rail in response to our earlier concerns and evidence so far suggests there is a welcome turnaround from the previous control period.
“However, the next four years have much more challenging efficiency targets and it is imperative that Network Rail stays focussed, particularly on ensuring work to renew the railway is planned well in advance to maximise efficiency and provide a stable work plan for the supply chain.
“ORR will be continuing to keep a close eye on progress to ensure Network Rail delivers.”
Network Rail chief financial officer Jeremy Westlake added: “We’ve made a good start in delivering efficiencies and making every pound spent go that much further.
“There’s more to do to realise over £3bn in savings by 2024, but we have worked hard over the past year to make that journey as clear and detailed as possible.”
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