- History of ORR
History of ORR
On 5 November 1993, the Railways Act created the Rail Regulator. The Rail Regulator was replaced by the Office of Rail Regulation, led by a statutory Board, on 5 July 2004.
This section briefly explains the history of rail regulation authorities from 1993 to the current day.
On 1st April 2006, we assumed our new responsibilities as a combined safety and economic regulator. The changes were based on the 2004 White Paper – The Future of Rail.
The Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 brought the railways into line with other regulated industries by replacing the individual regulator with a regulatory board.
The Regulator's role was changed on 1 February 2001, where he gained new powers to direct enhancement of a network facility or to expand an operator's existing access rights.
The Transport Act 2000 formally established the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). The SRA took over from ORR the sponsorship of the Rail Passenger Council and some committees, as part of the Government’s policy of making the SRA the one-stop-shop for all customer facing functions.
On 1 April 1994, British Rail was split into two parts:
- Railtrack PLC, which owned the rail network infrastructure, and
- the service providers, which comprised:
- 25 train operators
- domestic and international freight businesses, and
- a track renewal and maintenance division
Between 1994 – 1997, the service providers were turned into separate legal entities and transferred to the private sector.
Railtrack was floated on the stock exchange in June 1996 and remained a listed company until it was placed under railway administration on 7 October 2001. Railtrack's functions were transferred to Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, a company limited by guarantee.
During this period, the rail regulator was responsible for a range of consumer benefit functions relating to:
- quality of passenger services
- complaints handling and passenger complaint statistics
- facilities for the disabled
- National Rail Enquiry service
And the rail regulator was responsible for:
- the sponsorship of the Central Rail Users Consultative Committee
- the regional Rail Users Committees which were renamed the Rail Passengers Council and Rail Passenger's Committees in June 2000.
The Competition Act 1998 was enacted on 1 March 2000. This gave ORR concurrent powers to those of the Office of Fair Trading on competition matters relating to the railway industry.
- John Swift QC – appointed 1 December 1993 for 5 years
- Chris Bolt - December 1998 – July 1999
- Tom Winsor - 5 July 1999 – 4 July 2004
Last updated: 27 April 2009