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Thursday, May 23, 2024

£37.5bn rail investment plan submitted to the ORR

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Network Rail has set out its £37.5 billion investment plan for control period 5 (CP5).

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has said it will now carry out a “rigorous” assessment of the strategic business plan, which aims to deliver 170,000 extra peak-time commuter seats on a network experiencing unprecedented growth in demand.

David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, said: “One million more trains run every year than 10 years ago, more passengers arrive on time than ever before, our safety record is one of the best in Europe and, despite the daily challenges we face, customer satisfaction is at record levels. Successive governments have made this possible by looking beyond the short term and recognising the critical importance of the railway to Britain’s future.

“As our railway gets busier the challenges get bigger and more complex. We have entered an era of trade-offs. Increasingly we have to balance the need to build more infrastructure, run trains on time and cut costs, and in many areas choices will need to be made.”

Network Rail  plans to reduce the public’s contribution to the railway’s funding to between £2.6 billion and £2.9 billion, down from £4.5 billion in 2009.

Launching the 2014-19 business plan, Network Rail said the cost of operating Britain’s railway was becoming cheaper as the organisation becomes more efficient, from £12.6 billion in CP3 to £10.7 billion in CP5.

Tim O’Toole, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “We are moving forward together as an industry, which is a significant development, but at the end of the day passengers and freight users must see the value in our efforts. That means satisfying the demands for more capacity but also the demands for value for money.  The latter will only be met by achieving greater efficiency and better service for everyone who uses and pays for our railway.”

Infrastructure investment by region

England:
•    Removing the biggest bottleneck on the Great Western Main Line by rebuilding the railway in and around Reading station (£900m)
•    Completing the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station (£600m)
•    Delivering the Northern Hub project (£560m) which creates 20,000 jobs and increases rail capacity across the north of England by 700 services per day
•    Electrifying over 850 miles of railway including the Great Western and Midland Main Lines and introducing new, more reliable and quicker trains
•    Supporting High Speed 2 and the Department for Transport  as they start to build Britain’s high speed railway network to relieve the huge capacity constraints on the West Coast Main Line
•    Connecting Oxford with Bedford and Milton Keynes as part of the East West Rail project, which will provide a new, electrified railway linking the Great Western, West Coast and Midland Main Lines.

Scotland:
•    Reconnecting the border towns of Scotland with Edinburgh by reopening 31 miles of railway closed by Beeching in the 1960s (£300m Borders rail project)
•    Improving the route between Aberdeen and Inverness resulting in better commuter services and a new station at Kintore.

Wales:
•       Electrifying the Great Western Main Line to Swansea
•       Electrifying the Cardiff Valley lines
•       Major resignalling work bringing more reliable services in the north of the country between Flint and Llandudno

London:
•    Increasing the number of seats for passengers in London by 20% during the busiest times of day
•    Completing the Thameslink upgrade programme (£6bn)
•    Undertaking the biggest and most complicated station rebuilding and remodelling ever on our railway, at London Bridge
•    Completing the surface elements of the Crossrail project (£2.3bn)

Freight:
•    £200m investment in the Strategic Freight Network

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