NETWORK Rail must cut £200 million from its Scottish spending as part of £2 billion of efficiency savings across Britain, the Office of Rail Regulation said today.
• It also demanded a minimum of 92.5 per cent of trains should run on time between next year and 2019
• The ORR said it was not increasing the target for Scotland even though ScotRail was already hitting it
The ORR said better ways of working and management of the network coupled with new technology would achieve the reduction in the £4.1bn Scottish budget and £21.4bn in Britain.
It also demanded a minimum of 92.5 per cent of trains should run on time between next year and 2019, which should improve the performance of cross-Border services on the east and west coast main lines whose punctuality has been trailing, largely because of line problems.
The ORR said it was not increasing the target for Scotland even though ScotRail was already hitting it. This is because maintaining the target is expected to be challenging due to disruption caused by improvement work, and further passenger growth.
A total of £1.5bn will be spent on such upgrades to 2019, including electrifying the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line and others between the two cities and Alloa and Dunblane.
The ORR said a further £10m would be used to close the highest risk level crossings, and £30m to boost rail freight in Scotland.
Network Rail will also have to make bridges, embankments and cuttings more weather-proof in the face of climate change, with extra money being allocated in two years time if required. Several landslips closed lines in heavy rain last summer.
Network Rail said it would give “careful and detailed thought” to the plans before responding in September.
However, it said it had already made 40 per cent efficiency savings over the last decade, and getting the balance right between performance, growth and value for money was critical.