Home > Free Essays > Business > Company Information > Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning

Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning Report

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Sep 18th, 2022


Business continuity planning (BCP) means the development of strategies, through the recognition of the threats and risks facing a company, with the objective of ensuring that the workers and assets of the company are well protected and are able to function in times of disasters (Syed & Syed, 2004; Butcher, 2011). Many indications have emerged to support the benefits of BCP (Butcher, 2011). There are various benefits of BCP: it ensures that both the people and the environment are protected. In addition, it helps the organization to minimize on finance expenses. It assists in the reduction of regulatory fines. Furthermore, the loss of market share is reduced. BCP also minimizes damage to equipment. BCP also limits the interference to service delivery. It also reduces the insurance premiums of the organization. All this show that business continuity plan is a cost efficient method (Syed & Syed, 2004). BCP used to be just the data center that includes distributing operations, personnel, networks and power. It also includes all aspects of the IT environment (Fulmer & Rothstein, 2005).

This report discusses a case study of Network Rail, which is one of the 28 operators in the British rail Company that employed the BCP in its operations (Goh & Leo, 2004). From this case study, the benefits of BCP to organizations will be exemplified. They include defining risks, determining how the risks can affect operations of a company, implementing safeguards and procedures to solve those risks, testing the procedures in ensuring that they work and periodically review process to ensure that it is up to date (Goh & Leo, 2004).

Network Rail Business description

Network Rail took over the running of Britain’s rail infrastructure in October, 2002. This was after the government instructed it to improve safety, reliability, and the efficiency of the railway. Afterwards, Network Rail established a program of renewing tracks, signals, power and telecom equipment for communication. The company currently runs, operates, maintains, and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure. The company has more than 35,000 employees who work in shifts or part time (Butcher, 2011).

They use a renewals budget variance analysis as a way of understanding the variance between the actual expenditure and the budget. The Network Rail has a devolved structure, routes, and supporting stations and other buildings, electrification and plant. It owns the rail infrastructure and more than 2500 railway stations (Butcher, 2011). The company manages 17 of the biggest and the busiest stations (Needle, 2010).

Network Rail runs a good number of initiatives that ensure that ensure that the safety standards of the staffs, contractors and her partners are improved (House builders health & safety 2008). This includes the Safety Truck, which is available for bookings in training sessions; the Safety campaign, which is for addressing track and front line safety issues and Frontline focus, which shows video lessons on certain areas of safety such as the use of Railroad Vehicles (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2008).

Consequently, the company has Project Safety Leadership Group, which improves the railway safety standards and controls every person in the industry to follow best practices every time. The group meets twice a month and is joined by senior leaders from different departments in the organization. Network Rail also has health and safety management system, which is about, how the company meets its objectives and regulates the risks across the whole organization. The contractors and suppliers are advised to take systematic approaches in understanding risks and management of safety before working on infrastructure (House builders’ health & safety 2008).

Policy of the company

Network Rail achieves its policy statement by forming its own critical objectives. For instance, managing the risk facing transport networks from terrorism and other crimes (Butcher, 2011; Syed & Syed, 2004). The company also aims to lower train accident risks, improve workforce safety, meet reasonable requirements of customers and funders, as well as reduce risks, carbon emissions and debris (Great Britain & Great Britain, 2010).

Reducing delays

The company aims to improve railway networks by providing fast, efficient and reliable journeys in Britain. The company chose to be in charge of the rail infrastructure during 2002. This was critical as it led to the reduction of delay minutes, to a substantial extent (Great Britain, 2008a). Indeed, the period was slashed from 14.72 million per year to 7.4 million between 2002 and 2011.

Delay minutes (millions)

2002/03 – 14.72
2003/04 – 13.72
2004/05 – 11.43
2005/06 – 10.05
2006/07 – 10.05
2007/08 – 9.5
2008/09 – 8.9
2009/10 – 6.7
2010/11 – 7.4

Source: (Great Britain, 2008a)

Legal and political dimensions

The company has to follow the law throughout its operation. For instance, Network Rail is legally required to conduct their engineering work under special guidelines. For instance, they are required to close rail traffic when working on the railways. Charges are levied for using a railway infrastructure and licensing of railway undertakings. The two are railway regulations, which were amended in 2005. The firm also follows the formal maintenance system for entities in charge of maintenance. This is important in ensuring that rail vehicles are maintained safely. Consequently, the company follows political obligations. The company is prone to political obligations since it is a statutory firm (Crossrail Bill 2008). Network Rail is legally governed by many bodies with an influence. These bodies include the Office of Rail Regulators (ORR), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK Government, Environmental agency (EA), ATOC, HMRI, and RSSB (Butcher, 2011).

Critical functions (Dependencies)

In order for firms to perform optimally, there should be business units and processes. This may include people, vehicle and equipment, property, reputation and image. In this case, people are the customers, staff, contractors, third parties and partners, and supplier among others. People play a major role in all businesses. Notably, the skills of the employees are critical to the success of the organization. In Network Rail Company, through people engagement, they get to know the major instruments in production, performance, safety and sustainable development. Thus, performance is improved by people (Lovins & Rocky Mountain Institute, 2011).

Another business unit is vehicles and machinery. Industrial machinery saves on time and cost in construction. They reduce labor and risks compared to human workforce. With machines, work is made easier, efficient and manageable (Network Rail, 2012).

The suppliers of Network Rail

The company spends about £4.5 billion every year (Network Rail, 2012). This is the amount spent on on works, as well as goods that are bought by the company. Notably, 50% of their expenditure is spent on the top 20 suppliers. The company has over 10,0000 listed suppliers. Network Rail purchases various products and services from the suppliers (Network Rail, 2012). Some of the services include IT services, office and station services, recruitment services, and consultancy for business services. The products supplied include hand tools and portable plants, rail wagons, concrete, steel, timber, and cables among others. The suppliers include Babcock, Dave Doggett (DTM Consulting) and Ian Smith (EWS), contractor Osborne, ATOS, CSC, Oracle, Microsoft, SCC among others (Great Britain, 2008b).

Critical Objectives of Network Rail

The company has developed a Thames link Program, which is committed to supporting the company’s vision. The vision focuses on sustaining development. This is achieved through delivering transport benefits. It is also achieved by creating positive effects on people and their environment. The company has developed objectives that would fulfil the policy of the company. This includes the objective of managing the risks to passengers. It also includes managing risks of staff, reducing debris and other emissions from trains, expanding the rail networks, developing a new high speed rail network, maintaining today’s railway with improved performance, reducing train accidents and improve workforce safety. The objectives are from different fields including objectives for workplace, marketplace, and environment (Wilson, 2007).

Risk assessment

Some of the risks faced by Network Rail include the risk of flood, electricity supply disruption, fuel shortage, terrorism and risk of bridge strike. The risks also include structural failure, strike, extreme weather, fire, key staff shortage, denial of access to platforms, legal actions and natural disasters. Other risks include litter and fly-tipping on the railway, transportation disruptions and issues affecting the Health and Safety of customers (Network Rail, 2013, p. 29).

The risk of flood in November 2012 was a lesson for the company. The company had to undertake studies to collect data at the appropriate scale and level of detail to understand their flood risk. To prevent the risk of floods, the Network Rail company allocated development to areas of least risk and allocate developments vulnerable to flooding at areas least affected by flood risks. The risk is high especially during the rainy seasons: historical data show that floods have affected the railway many times during the rainy season. The company has adjusted the areas prone to floods to a level that cannot be affected to a larger extend (National Research Council (U.S.) National Cooperative Freight Research Program. United States., & Cambridge Systematics, 2011).

When there is electrical disruption, the operations of the company are greatly affected. Electric traction should be increased to enhance minimal disruption. According to historical data, the risk is low in the Network Rail Company. Extreme weather is a medium risk according to the statistical data of the company’s daily operations. The workers within the rail industry ensure that they put the rail in a good position for use by trains. Untidiness at the railway attracts pests, which destroy signal cables. In turn, this causes signal failures. It can also cause interruptions and mishaps. According to the statistical data of the Network Rail, this is a low risk because the workers sweep away everything that might cause an incident.

Fly- tipping is also risky, especially to the railway tracks in Network Rails Company. This is also a criminal offense. The company has a statutory duty to clean up any litter. They try to prevent litter and fly tipping by working with the police for transport in Britain who investigate and prosecute people who commit the crime. The company also encourages contractors to remove all litter, debris, and other materials from its sides when they have accomplished their duties/work. According to the statistical data of the Network Rail, the risk is medium in regards to the statistical data over the past years. The Network Rail regularly reviews the states of the tracks. The company conducts maintenance work to improve the tracks hence the vibrations from trains will not affect the surrounding buildings. The work of maintenance and engineering is noisy. However, the firm tries hard to reduce noise and disruption. They also give advance notice of engineering works when the need arises. They use silenced equipment where possible.

Trespassing and vandalism can lead to the loss of many lives. The company carries out public awareness on the risks associated with trespass and vandalism. People who want to commit suicide also are victims. Teachers and parents are also cautioned about the same. The risk is medium according to the historical statistical data. The company plans to replace the existing fence in places where trespassing and vandalism cases are many. Consequently, they have imposed rules to restrict the acts by setting penalty charges and involving the transport police of Britain. At the risk of denial of access to platforms, various aspects such as civil strife, platforms occupation, police cordons from terrorist incidents and more others all contribute to the restriction. The risk of terrorism is medium according to the historical statistical data.

The success of any organization dependents on the skill and availability of its workforce. The Network Rail units require over 270 employees to carry out its operations effectively (Network Rail, 2013, p. 21). Staff (including contract support such as the operational staff) may not be available for various reasons. This may include significant loss of life through fire or explosion. In addition, workers may be affected by failure in the public transport sector. Furthermore, harsh weather conditions may also affect the availability of employees. There are also many other aspects such as widespread illnesses that may affect the availability of workers.

Risk remediation and mitigation

Reported bridge strikes on Network Rail bridges

There were various strikes on the rail bridges between the years 2011 and 2012. There were numerous strikes that occurred at ETN/1601: Abbey Farm, Thetford. Nonetheless, there was a reduction in the number of strikes over the period (Network Rail, n.d). The following table indicates areas where over ten strikes occurred (Goel, 2009).

Network Rail Route Bridge identification Location OS reference Number of reported bridge strikes
Anglia ETN/1601 Abbey Road, Thetford, Norfolk TL 866 837 17
Anglia DWW2/227 Kenworthy Road, Homerton, Greater London TQ 362 849 12
LNE ECM1/246 A52 Barrowby Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire SK 909 362 11
Anglia BGK/1568 A142 Stuntney Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire TL 544 794 10
LNW TTA1/106 A624 Hayfield Road, Chinley, Derbyshire SK 056 816 10
Western MLN1/20 71 Station Road, Burnham, Slough SU 940 813 10

Source: (Ross 2012; Network Rail, n.d).

In preventing the strikes, the Network Rail Company applies the principle of the 4 Es which include education, engineering, enablement and enforcement. In response, the company established a body that establishes the direction on measures to be adopted when responding to bridge strikes.

Plastic and other sheeting may blow onto live overhead lines and lead to electric arcing, forcing trains to stop. Network Rail reduces debris by making sure that the rubbish skips is covered with a net, securing any loose materials and patrolling her site regularly (Downs, 2004).

The waste materials from the infrastructure may lead to disruptions in the operation of the Network Rail. The running of trains can be stopped by the underground striking of electricity or cutting of gas supplies. The best way to prevent such a scene is to provide information on any buried service cables and pipes, as well as repositioning the structures or parts of the structures. This will ensure that services are not affected during work. It is also important to arrange for the supply to be disconnected during the work. If all that fails to work out, the company can choose other methods to avoid the service like using ground beams.

Smoke and fire can force trains to stop running. To avoid them, the Rail Company seeks help from the surrounding people. This is achieved by requesting people to avoid burning rubbish near the railway. The people are also requested to store flammable materials carefully. In addition, the company ensures that people are informed when anyone is found burning rubbish near the fire stations.

Disruption Impacts of the aforementioned risks

The occurrence of the above risks may affect the railway operations and the surrounding areas negatively. For example, if fire attacks a railway line and the nearby buildings and the impacts last for one day, all the operations of the railway industry in the affected route will be affected, hence the competitive position will be lowered. The operations will only resume if it is kept off and the affected area rebuilt. The stakeholders, the suppliers and the rest of workers will be affected since work will stop. The surrounding businesses will stop running, and all groups will unite to stop the fire. They will still be paid since it is not their fault that the risk occurred. The level of impact will be 4. The company will try to look for the causes of fire and try to caution people on the danger it presents. The company will put fences and restrictions on trespassers (Network Rail, 2012).

Duration of Fire Impact Tolerance level Impact
3 days >4 0 Would stop all rail activity
1 day 4 1 Would limit the reach of the station
2 Hours 2 2 Would affect service delivery

In the case floods occur and the impact lasts for three days, all the operations of in the affected route will stop. In addition, more employees will be hired to help curb the risk (Fulmer and Rothstein 2005). In this case, more expenditure will be needed to curb the situation. Staff morale will go down due to fear of floods. The stakeholders and suppliers will be affected, and the impact level will be five (Network Rail, 2012).

Duration of Flood Impact Tolerance level Impact
3 days >4 0 Would stop all rail activity
1 day 4 0 Would limit the reach of flood-prone areas
2 Hours 3 1 Would delay transport services

If terrorism occurs, the firm will incur a lot of losses, the morale of employees will go down, the reputation of the firm will be poor because of being associated with terror, people would not apply for jobs for the company; competitive position will decrease, the stakeholders and suppliers will be affected, and the level of impact will be 5. If there will be electric supply disruption, the operations of the company will stop. Employees will also not be employed, due to the lack of vacancies. Suppliers will be affected, and staff morale will decrease. The level of the impact will be five (Network Rail, 2012).

Duration of Terrorism Impact Tolerance level Impact
3 days 3 1 Would stop all rail activity
1 day 2 2 Would limit the reach of affected areas
2 Hours 1 3 Would delay transport services

In case of bridge strike, the operations will cease. The public image of the company will change. The company will have to spend a lot to renovate or reconstruct the bridge. Suppliers and stakeholders will be affected, and the level of impact will be five (Network Rail, 2012).

Duration of bridge strike Impact Tolerance level Impact
3 days >4 0 Would stop all rail activity
1 day >4 0 Would limit the reach of affected areas
2 Hours >4 0 Would stop transport services

Emergency plans and procedures

In case of disaster, the Network Rail Company has Railway Operation Code Sections, which contains the emergent procedures and plans, as well as the analysis conducted by the Network Rail in case a disaster induced by any risk occurs. The company has an emergency plan at every managed station, which lays the procedures for helping the situation in the case of an emergency. It involves the training of regulatory policies, emergence procedure in the event of extended disruption, and control arrangements among other aspects (International Conference on Computer Aided Design, Manufacture, and Operation in the Railway and Other Advanced Mass Transit Systems, & Brebbiass, 2013).

Invoking and triggering the plans

The plans are invoked and triggered once any of the aforementioned critical dependencies get affected, or any of the risks occur. BCP could be invoked by any of the executive members of Network Rail’s board members based on the detection of triggers. In any case, an emergency will be declared when more than 36 percent of staff required are not available.

As noted earlier, the 17 stations require 270 staffs on an operational day: the total number of workers for the 17 stations is 2058 staffs. However, in the incidence of risk, the different situations may require an additional 270 staffs, to assist the 270 who is available. The case will be the same at night, which counts to 1080 staffs each day. That daily requirement will require about 52 percent of the total staff members available for the station, which makes up about 52 percent of the total staff.

Type of emergency People
Person certified to invoke BCP Any Executive member of the board
Normal and emergency contact Available on telephone directory or mobilising
Emergency In the case that more than 49 % of staffs are not available, that would be a red level emergency
Out of the 2050 staffs, in the case staffs between 0 and 20 % percent are not available, which adds up to 411 staff: that would be declared a green level emergency.
In the case between 21 and 48 percent of the total 2080 staff are not available, which is highest at 998 staffs, that will be declared an amber level emergency (Fulmer and Rothstein 2005)

Source: (Goel, 2009)

Type of emergency Vehicles/ Equipment
Person certified to invoke BCP Any Executive member of the board based on defined triggers
Normal and emergency contact Available on telephone directory and mobilising
Emergency In the case that more than 70 % of Frontline equipment and appliances is not available, a red level emergency would be declared
In the case 0-20 % of Out of the 2050 staffs, in the case staffs between 0 and 20 % of Frontline equipment and appliances is not available, a green level emergency would be declared
In the case 21-69 % of Frontline equipment and appliances is not available, an amber level emergency would be declared (Fulmer and Rothstein, 2005)

Source: (Network Rail, 2013, p. 23).

Type of emergency ICT/ Communications
Person certified to invoke BCP Any Executive member of the board based on defined triggers
Normal and emergency contact Available on telephone directory or mobilising
Emergency In the case there is loss of mobilizing systems at multiple railway stations, an emergency will be declared.
In the incidence of another event that impacts on the BC, outside the communications and the IT threshold, an emergency will be declared (Fulmer and Rothstein, 2005).

Crisis management team

The team consists of the human resource officer, head of safety and fire management, chief executive, head of operational risk management, health and safety officer, head of finance, head of engineering and transport, board of directors, chief executive of third parties, supplier and partner companies. All these members should have some experience, knowledge, education and trained. Crisis management helps the organization to apply accurate plans while dealing with the risks (Goel, 2009).

Business recovery plans

Business recovery plans are company procedures that are undertaken to retain the image of a company after a risk has occurred and affected a corporate’s image. For instance, the company handles large quantities of waste and turns them from a liability to an asset. For example, in 2012, Network Rail turned 85.9 percent of their internally managed waste of infrastructure from land fill. The company is also working towards the 97 per cent landfill diversion goal by 2014 (Network Rail, 2013). Safety planning is preferred as the best methodology in Network Rail for recovering.

Embedding BCP in the Network Rail’s culture

The BCP will be embedded into the culture of Network Rail though training staffs, where different personnel will be trained on BCP strategies. Staff appraisal is another approach of embedding, where staffs that respond to BCP initiatives quickly and accordingly are rewarded (Network Rail, 2013). Network rail will also administer team briefs, accounts of the lessons learnt, campaigns and strategic testing of the BCP plans, towards embedding the BCP into its organizational culture. The maintenance of BCP strategies will help embed BCP into the culture of Network Rail (Network Rail, 2013).

Network Rail ensures a safe environment and the efficiency of their plans and BCP through testing and maintenance of its BCP. These are employed through campaigns, which are staged to identify weaknesses in the BCP. Through job appraisal and training, the skills of staffs are enhanced or further developed, which helps the organization in checking the BCP for flaws, following the increased knowledge-base among the employees (Network Rail, 2013). Testing the plans will expose any flaws and ensure that those involved understand their roles and responsibilities. It is performed by acting out a scenario which is known as an emergency exercise or fire drills (Network Rail, 2013, p. 29).

Applicability and implacability of the (Business continuity plan) BCP

The BCP is not a daily problem resolution procedures document as it is limited to disasters. Disruptions may affect an organization’s critical dependencies and activities. Since the risks that may confront Network Rail are dependent on the time frame and changes regularly, BCP should be audited and reviewed on a regular basis.

Conclusion and recommendation

The BCP is concerned with various aspects that are associated with risks and how these risks can be resolved. In its day to day operations, the Network Rail Company arranges the train movements that meet the need of their customers. They respond to incidents through reducing bridge strikes, on-track machinery cleaning, derailments and vehicle incursion. In case of disaster or a disaster, the Network Rail has Railway Operation Code Sections that contain the emergency procedures and plans and the analysis conducted by the network rail in case a disaster induced by any risk occurs. It involves the training of regulatory policies, emergence procedure in the event of extended disruption, and control arrangements. Therefore, it can be established that the BCP is critical to organizations that are steadfast in their quest to avoid risks. BCP helps Network Rail develop measures of identifying possible risks and developing mitigating measures, ensuring that the effects of the anticipated risks are reduced.


Butcher, L 2011, Railways: Network Rail. House of Commons Library, SN2129.

Crossrail Bill, 2008, The Stationery Office/Tso, London.

Downs, A 2004, Still stuck in traffic: Coping with peak-hour traffic, CongestionBrookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Fulmer, KL & Rothstein, PJ 2005, Business continuity planning, A step-by-step guide with planning forms, Rothstein Associates, Brookfield, Conn.

Goel, S 2009, Crisis management, Master the skills to prevent disasters, Global India Publications, New Delhi.

Goh, MH & Leo, YN 2004, Implementing your business continuity plan, GMH Continuity, Architects, Singapore.

Great Britain & Great Britain 2010, The proposal for a national policy statement on ports: Fifth report of session 2009-10 report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence, Stationery Office, London.

Great Britain 2008a, Delivering a sustainable railway: A 30-year strategy for the railways? Tenth report of session 2007-08 : report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence, Stationery Office, London

Great Britain 2008b, Reducing passenger rail delays by better management of incidents, Stationery Office, London.

House builders health & safety 2008, Construction Industry Publications, Northampton.

International Conference on Computer Aided Design, Manufacture, and Operation in the Railway and Other Advanced Mass Transit Systems, & Brebbia, CA 2013, Computers in railways XIII, Computer system design and operation in the railway and other transit systems, WIT, Southampton.

Ireland, RD, Hoskisson, RE & Hitt, MA 2008, Understanding business strategy: Concepts and cases, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason, OH.

Lovins, AB & Rocky Mountain Institute 2011, Reinventing fire Bold business solutions for the new energy era, Chelsea Green Pub., White River Junction, Vt.

National Research Council (U.S.) National Cooperative Freight Research Program. United States., & Cambridge Systematics, 2011, Framework and tools for estimating benefits of specific freight network investments, Transportation Research Board. Washington, DC.

Needle, D 2010, Business in context: An introduction to business and its environment. South-western Cengage Learning, Andover.

Network Rail, n.d., The risk of bridge strikes. Web.

Network Rail, 2012, Supply of works, services or products: Easy to do business with and demanding of value. Web.

Network Rail, 2013, Strategic Business Plan for England & Wales. Web.

Syed, A & Syed, A 2004, Business continuity planning methodology, Ont Sentryx Inc., Mississauga.

Wilson, JR 2007, People and rail systems: Human factors at the heart of the railway, Ashgate, Aldershot.

This report on Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Report sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2022, September 18). Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning. https://ivypanda.com/essays/network-rail-co-business-continuity-planning/


IvyPanda. (2022, September 18). Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/network-rail-co-business-continuity-planning/

Work Cited

"Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning." IvyPanda, 18 Sept. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/network-rail-co-business-continuity-planning/.

1. IvyPanda. "Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning." September 18, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/network-rail-co-business-continuity-planning/.


IvyPanda. "Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning." September 18, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/network-rail-co-business-continuity-planning/.


IvyPanda. 2022. "Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning." September 18, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/network-rail-co-business-continuity-planning/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Network Rail Co. Business Continuity Planning'. 18 September.

Powered by CiteTotal, automatic reference generator
More related papers