Network Rail under fire for failing behind on structures checks

Aaron Morby 1 year ago
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The rail regulator has slammed Network Rail for failing to examine the structural condition of bridges, tunnels and culverts.

The ORR said the failure to tackle the now growing backlog of condition surveys of structure could lead to serious safety issues on the country’s railways.

ORR has been closely monitoring Network Rail’s progress to clear the backlog of structures examinations since 2021, when ORR first raised concerns.

John Larkinson, ORR Chief Executive, said that despite some pockets of good practice, overall there had been limited progress and some regions have seen the backlog increase.

ORR also has concerns that Network Rail may not be able to comply with its own new standard for structure examinations which is intended by September 2023.

It has now given Network Rail until the end of June to put forward robust plans on how it will tackle the backlog with urgency.

Larkinson added: “There are over 70,000 structures on the rail network, so we understand the scale of the job of inspecting these assets.

“Equally, we know this requires clear, robust and systematic examination plans but previous attempts to get on top of the backlog of work have failed.

“Network Rail has accepted the need to do better and it must now deliver against the agreed workplan to clear the backlog.”

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