Eurostar on HS1

UK: The Office of Rail & Road has expressed concern over how high speed rail infrastructure concessionaire HS1 Ltd is managing asset renewals.

ORR’s annual operational and financial performance assessment of HS1 Ltd for the year to March 31 2022 found a good safety record and train service performance. However, the safety regulator has concerns about the delivery of renewals planned between April 1 2020 and March 31 2025. It said HS1 Ltd had failed to provide enough evidence that it has undertaken adequate assurance on contractor Network Rail (High Speed)’s decision to defer several projects, and ORR has not been provided with clear evidence of the capability of NR(HS) to accurately assess current asset condition and deliver renewals.

HS1 (Photo: ORR)

As a result, HS1 Ltd has agreed to set out its minimum asset data requirements and report on data quality annually, and ORR also expects it to undertake a more rigorous assurance regime on NR(HS)’s project delivery until the renewal shortfall is recovered.

‘There is now a two-year compounded renewals shortfall of £12·6m’, said ORR Chief Executive John Larkinson on August 4. ‘This is planned investment in the infrastructure which has not been made. In addition to a rigorous assurance regime, HS1 Ltd should request a recovery plan from Network Rail (High Speed) and implement additional monitoring against the recovery plan.’

Rail Business UK understands that the amount of work undertaken in the past year was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and HS1 Ltd has been working with its supply chain to manage the remaining interventions. It has also developed a stronger understanding of its assets over time, enabling it to take a more condition-based approach to renewals, and believes projects can be re-phased to deliver the best value for money without compromising performance or safety.