Signalling study closed by Office of Rail and Road as a result of COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to severely impact the UK rail industry, ORR has announced that it will close the signalling market study in order to ease the burden being placed on the industry.
The UK’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR) – the independent safety and economic regulator for the UK’s railways and Highways England – opened a formal study into the UK signalling market in late January 2020, designed to explore if there were any competition issues affecting important rail signalling supply chains and to determine if any action was needed as a result.
As a result of the ongoing and significant impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the rail industry, ORR has announced its decision to close the signalling market study. This will allow the industry to focus on operational and safety issues during such challenging times.
ORR has said that it was making sound progress and had reached a critical point in gathering information from the industry, having identified a number of issues warranting further close investigation. Therefore, the regulator came to the conclusion that carrying on would place too great a burden on critical personnel, and that it would have been unable to reach a fair and accurate decision by the legal deadline of 26 July 2020.
The signalling market remains a key focus for ORR, and re-opening the study when the railway returns to a ‘steady-state’ will be a high priority. In the meantime, the regulator will continue our work in this area without placing any form of burden on the industry. ORR will also continue to deploy its resources and expertise to play its part in ensuring the continued, safe operation of the railway during the current pandemic, which is critical to maintaining supply lines of goods and the transport of key workers.
A final report, setting out full reasons as to why ORR has had to close the study at this stage will be published in due course.