Network Rail - Network Rail Initial Activities - B

Network Rail - B
Network Rail Initial Activities
Network Rail Ltd. was created with the express purpose of taking over Britain's railway infrastructure control, this was achieved via its purchase of Railtrack plc from Railtrack Group plc for £500 million, Railtrack plc was then renamed and reconstituted as Network Rail Infrastructure Limited. The transaction was completed on 3 October 2002. The former company had thus never ceased to exist but continued under another name: for this reason Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd was the defendant in later prosecutions in respect of events which had occurred in the days of Railtrack.
Network Rail owns the infrastructure, including the railway tracks, signals, overhead wires, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and most stations, but not the passenger or commercial freight rolling stock, other than its limited departmental stock. While it owns over 2,500 railway stations, it manages only 20 of the biggest and busiest of them as all the other stations are managed by the various train operating companies (TOCs).
Network Rail should not be confused with National Rail, the latter is a brand rather than an organisation, used to inform and promote a nationwide network of passenger railway services. The majority of Network Rail lines also carry freight traffic, some lines are freight only. A few lines that carry passenger traffic are not part of the National Rail network (such as the Tyne and Wear Metro and the London Underground). Conversely, a few National Rail services operate over track which is not part of the Network Rail network, such as the line between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham being owned by London Underground.
Following an initial period in which Network Rail established itself and demonstrated its competence in addressing the principal challenges of improving asset condition, reducing unit costs and tackling delay, the Government's Rail Review in 2004 said that Network Rail should be given responsibility for whole-industry performance reporting, timetable development, specification of small and medium network enhancements, and the delivery of route-specific utilisation strategies (RUS).
Some of these are functions which Network Rail already had, others - such as the obligation to devise route utilisation strategies - were transferred to Network Rail from the Strategic Rail Authority, a non-departmental public body, part of the UK government. The SRA was abolished in November 2006.
Network Rail initially sub-contracted much of the infrastructure work to private maintenance companies, such as Carillion and First Engineering, other sub-contractors perform specialist work or additional labour, such as Prima Services Group, Sky Blue, Balfour Beatty, Laboursite, BCL, Atkins (Atkins Rail) and McGinleys.
In October 2003, Network Rail announced that it would take over all infrastructure maintenance work from private contractors, following concerns about the quality of work carried out by certain private firms and spiralling costs. In 2007, it was announced that the number of track renewal contractors would be reduced from six to four, Amey/SECO, Balfour Beatty, Babcock First Engineering and Jarvis plc.
Network Rail has expanded its in-house engineering skills, including funding of apprenticeship and foundation degree schemes, and has reported significant savings from transferring work away from contracting companies. Additional work was taken back in-house after the serious accident at Potters Bar and other accidents at Rotherham and King's Cross led to Jarvis's collapse into administration in March 2010.
The company moved its headquarters to Kings Place, 90 York Way, from 40 Melton Street, Euston, in August 2008. Two months later, Sir Ian McAllister announced that he would not stand for re-election as chairman of Network Rail after holding the position for six years. He noted that as Network Rail moved to a "new phase in its development" it was appropriate for a new chairman to lead it there.
Network Rail also has a 15-year lease on Square One in Manchester with 800 staff in one of Manchester's largest refurbished office spaces. During June 2012, work was completed on the company's new national centre, known as the Quadrant:MK. Based in Milton Keynes about five minutes' walk from Milton Keynes Central, it comprises four buildings connected to a central street, accommodating more than 3,000 people. Various divisions, including engineering, logistics, operations (including timetable planning), IT, procurement, planning and finance departments, and Route Services Supply Chain operations have been transferred to the Quadrant.
Network Rail Allegations and Controversies
In 2009, allegations appeared in the media from the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association concerning treatment of Network Rail employees. Former chief executive Iain Coucher was also accused of financial impropriety involving unspecified payments to his business partner Victoria Pender during his tenure at Network Rail. An internal investigation held by Network Rail in 2010, vetted by its auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing. An independent enquiry headed by Anthony White QC in 2011 further examined the claims, but also exonerated Coucher.
Critical commentary appeared in the media concerning the knighthood awarded to John Armitt in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to engineering and construction. Armitt was Chief Executive of Network Rail at the time of the 2007 Grayrigg derailment and the family of a victim of the accident criticised the award, which coincidentally was conferred on the same day that Network Rail were prosecuted for the accident.
Network Rail Overview
Network Rail Type: Government-owned company/non-departmental public body
(incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee without share capital)
Network Rail Industry: Rail infrastructure and asset management
Network Rail Predecessor: Railtrack
Network Rail Founded: October 2002, 21 years ago
Network Rail Successor: Great British Railways (from 2024)
Network Rail Headquarters: 1 Eversholt Street
Network Rail Key People:
Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill (chairman)
Andrew Haines (CEO)
Ric Scott (Highland Area LOM)
Network Rail Products: Public transport
Network Rail Revenue: £6.6 billion (2019)
Network Rail Owner: HM Government (Department for Transport)
Network Rail Number of Employees: 42,099 (2020)
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