Network Rail’s new regional management structure took effect from today (Mon 24 June), the first phase of changes the company says are designed to address “passengers’ top priority of performance and punctuality.”
The company says 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.
The five new regions – Eastern, North West & Central, Scotland’s Railway, Southern, and Wales and Western – will be devolved further with 14 new routes coming 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.
The news comes as figures 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 found that punctuality and reliability are passengers’ top priority.
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.
Network Rail chief executive 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. 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 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, 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.”
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association welcomed Network Rail’s new structure. He said: “The coming years are crucial for the rail industry. Demand for rail services continues to rise, with passenger numbers doubling over the past 20 years and freight growing significantly too. Within this context, it is crucial rail businesses have visibility about what projects are coming to market, a smooth profile of workloads, rather than ‘boom and bust’ funding, and a clear and accessible Network Rail structure that allows for collaboration between supplier and client.
“We hope that the changes announced today will help make Network Rail even more outward looking, create a business-focused organisation which treats rail suppliers as key partners in infrastructure delivery whilst also ensuring consistency in approach between the central team and the devolved regions. And we look forward to working with Network Rail and this new structure, to deliver the ambitious programme of work over the coming years, and provide even more benefits to passengers and freight users.”