- West Coast Main Line
West Coast Main Line
Since the spring of 2010, we have been working with the industry on the long-term allocation of capacity on the West Coast Main Line (“WCML”).
In 2010, anticipating both the existing Virgin West Coast franchise and the associated track access contract held by West Coast Trains Limited expiring on 1 April 2012, we:
- asked Network Rail to produce a capacity and performance report analysing operators’ stated aspirations,
- requested and then considered a number of applications for new or additional access rights, and
- issued our decision on 2 March 2011.
In summary, we decided to approve a new ten-year track access contract for the West Coast franchise (carrying forward broadly the existing level of access rights) and to reject the other applications that had been made. This was because we believed that the most efficient way to allocate capacity in the long-term would be for Network Rail to carry out a more thorough re-examination of the WCML timetable, in light of planned infrastructure improvements, before any significant new rights were approved.
Notwithstanding the delay in the replacement of the WCML franchise, Network Rail is now working with the industry on a recast of the West Coast timetable to be implemented incrementally, with the first stage to take effect from December 2013.
Process for current applications
On 1 October 2012 we wrote to a number of stakeholders to set out how we planned to take forward our consideration of competing applications for track access rights on the WCML, for the period post-December 2013. On 3 October, the Department for Transport announced that it had rescinded its decision to award the long term franchise for the West Coast to First Group. Notwithstanding the delay in the award of the new long-term franchise, the need for us to understand the potential effect on capacity of competing current and expected applications remains. On 19 December 2013 we issued a further letter, detailing the process we would be adopting, and the information we required from Network Rail to inform our analysis.
Previous WCML access decisions
- London Midland 30th SA – 4 October 2012
- Department for Transport section 17 application – 9 August 2011
- Grand Central section 17 application – 10 March 2011
- Alliance Rail Holdings section 17 application – 10 March 2011
- London Midland 22nd SA – 10 March 2011
Any enquiries should be directed to:
Track Access Executive
Office of Rail Regulation
One Kemble Street
Tel: 0207 282 2126
Last updated: April 2013
- ORR's proposed decision on WCML access applications - 2 March 2011 ( PDF 228 Kb).
- MVA Assessment - February 2011 ( PDF 476 Kb).
- ORR's letter to the industry - 1 December 2010 ( PDF 67 Kb).
- Network Rail Capacity Report - 19 October 2010 ( PDF 754 Kb).
- WCML stage 2 remit summary - 19 August 2010 ( PDF 45 Kb).
- WCML remit - 30 June 2010 ( PDF 90 Kb).
- ORR's letter to the industry - 14 May 2010 ( PDF 80 Kb).