THE RAIL performance incentive regime in Wales could be abolished ‘quite soon’, the chief executive of Transport for Wales has revealed.

James Price told a committee of the National Assembly for Wales that he had met Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines in Bristol on 2 January. They had discussed ‘how we can deliver one railway in Wales and get the benefits of bringing track and train as close together as we possibly can’. They had talked about ‘what, in both of our views actually, are unnecessary performance regimes that get in the way of improving services for the customer’.

Mr Price said: ‘One thing we may well do quite soon on that is [remove] something called Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 payments, which are payments that are made to and from the operator and the provider of the track where people are to blame for doing different things. In Wales, we move around £800,000-worth of fines a year. Sometimes Network Rail pay for it, sometimes we will pay for it, but we probably spend £1 million moving £800,000 around. So, even if it was achieving something, it’s a waste of money.

‘We would be the first people in the UK to do this. We could simply remove that. That would be the start of working more closely together, being more objective.’

He also commented: ‘If you are penalised as a result of doing something wrong and you’ve got a performance regime where it’s in everyone’s interest to point the finger at someone … you will do the best you can to paint your performance in the best possible light.

‘Where we need to be is taking that veneer off everything, including my own team, and saying completely objectively, completely honestly, what went wrong and how we can stop it happening.’ Rhodri Clar006B