ORR increases operator charges on High Speed 1 line
ORR have stated that operators using the High Speed 1 rail line will be expected to collectively pay £25.9 million annually.
Credit: Eurostar/ Nathan Gallagher
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has announced its decision that train operators using the High Speed 1 rail line – specifically, from London to the Channel Tunnel – will collectively pay £25.9 million annually towards the long-term expense of keeping the line in good condition.
The increase in charge is attributed to the predicted increase in cost of maintenance in the future – the high-speed line and its assets are almost two decades old and, therefore, needs more work to keep it functioning smoothly. The charges will be used to cover costs for any necessary work required over the next 40 years, which will ultimately help to prevent price spikes in the future.
The ORR’s Chief Executive, John Larkinson, said: “High Speed 1 is a valuable public asset and our role is to provide independent assurance that the line will be kept in good condition over the long-term at the lowest possible cost. This is important to make sure that train operators and, in turn, passengers and freight users get a good deal now but not at the expense of future generations.”
The new charge is 32 per cent – £12.3 million – less than what was requested by HS1 Ltd. ORR’s analysis shows that the lower figure is sufficient to ensure the maintenance of the line and that the assets are sustained.
Though ORR has approved the majority of HS1 Ltd’s proposals, certain aspects of how the asset should be managed were also determined – this included the review of the approach to asset life and project management costs.
Following the increase in funding, and the subsequent expected increase in maintenance work, ORR has stated that it will be reviewing and heightening its monitoring and reporting of HS1 Ltd’s progress, in order to ensure that the plan is delivered well and at a good value.