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Railways: Repairs and Maintenance

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the deferral by Network Rail of track renewals as a means to meet efficiency targets imposed by the Office of Rail Regulation; and if he will make a statement. (282267)

Track renewal is an operational matter for Network Rail as it aims to deliver the output and efficiency targets agreed with the Independent Office of Rail Regulation over the next five years.

Network Rail will be investing almost £4 billion on an intensive track renewals programme over Control Period 4. The Office of Rail Regulation is satisfied that this funding provides for works that are sufficient to maintain safety and the quality of the rail network.

We understand that total outputs will remain as previously planned, although phasing adjustments in the early part of the five year period will result in a lower volume of track renewals in the first year to allow time for new and more efficient working methods to take effect.