HS1 viaduct

UK: Channel Tunnel to London high speed line infrastructure concessionaire HS1 Ltd has missed key performance targets, according to the Office of Rail & Road’s annual assessment.

ORR said HS1 Ltd has made improvements since it raised concerns about asset renewals last year, but it missed expectations on lift, escalator and travelator availability, on workforce health and safety and on train performance — although at 7·25 sec delay per train average, performance remained much better than on the national network.

‘Our report shows a disappointing experience for the rail users and train operators using HS1’s stations’, said Feras Alshaker, ORR Director of Railway Planning & Performance, on July 31. ‘ORR has been actively working with HS1 and we are satisfied that HS1’s plans to address these concerns are proportionate and deliverable. HS1 must now work rapidly to ensure its plans are implemented successfully.’

A spokesperson for HS1 Ltd said ’while we are disappointed, and disagree with ORR’s suggestion that HS1 stations provide poor user experience, we are pleased they recognise that where we have missed any target, it has been due to factors largely out of HS1’s control or is non-contractual.

‘Despite narrowly missing our route performance “stretch” target — set by HS1 itself to maintain exemplary standards — we comfortably hit the contractual target set by ORR. ORR recognises that train performance on HS1 “remains much better than the main line railway in Britain”.’

HS1 Ltd said the rate of workplace injuries remains below legal obligations, and ’ORR themselves note that there is an underlying, national trend influencing these incidents, such as assaults on staff’.

HS1 Ltd said it had worked closely with manufacturers to resolve issues affecting lifts and travelators, and the availability average of 96·9% was ‘narrowly below’ the 98% target.

HS1 Ltd said it is ’committed to continuing to provide an excellent service for all rail users and train operators, and we will work with ORR to continue taking what they themselves recognise are satisfactory steps to deliver further improvements’.