Wednesday, 26 May 2010

NR timetabling - a tale of woe

Evidently the introduction of Network Rail's much vaunted Integrated Train Planning System has not gone well.

A stinging letter to Messrs Plummer and Gisby from the the Office of Rail Regulation (sadly not on the ORR's website yet) dated 20th May states:

Your introduction of the new integrated train planning system for the May timetable change has not gone well...

We understand that the problems encountered have included trains disappearing from the base timetable, an inability to handle portion working, operators unable to impost bids electronically and delays to the publication of the national rail timetable. This has affected data quality in downstream systems such as LENNON and ORCATS and TOC reservation systems, with knock-on effects on passenger and freight customers...

We are therefore investigating your management of the introduction of ITPS and its impact on operators and their customers...

There are three strands to our investigation:

A. to investigate the circumstances leading uo to the recent timetable problems, including the planning, testing, risk assesment and "go-live" decisions you took around ITPS;

B. to establish the direct impact of the introduction of ITPS on train operators and their passenger and freight customers; and

C. to review your plans for meeting your obligations in the short term and for ensuring these problems are not repeated in the long term (including at the December timetable change).

We hope to finish our investigation by the end of June...

Oh dear.

Producing a working timetable is pretty much the day job for Network Rail.

But at least one piece of good news.

Presumably the agenda for July's Annual Meeting will be too busy to allow similar scrutiny of the ITPS debacle by NR's plastic-shareholder 'members'.