Anglia’s five-year rail business plan announced

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With a £2.6 billion, five-year funding package for Control Period 7 (CP7), Network Rail’s Anglia route is today (3 April 2024), embarking on a rail improvement plan aimed at delivering a simpler, better, greener railway that provides the best level of train performance possible.  

The Anglia route already has some of the best performing rail services in the country. It has seen huge investments to improve the existing infrastructure over the last decade and working more closely with train operators and freight customers, is showing what can be achieved as a joined-up industry.  

Alongside train operators and other industry partners, Network Rail Anglia will build on the achievements of the last five years. With a focus on end-to-end journeys, it will deliver a more accessible, punctual and safe railway. An updated timetable to reflect current and future market demands, a commitment to get more freight moved by rail as part of a wider sustainable transport strategy, and enhancing the quality of service for passengers will be at the heart of the plan. 

Improvements will be delivered at London Liverpool Street station, now Britain’s busiest station, to improve the passenger experience. These include doubling the number of ticket gates in front of platforms 1-10 by moving retail units to improve pedestrian flow and reducing bottlenecks and congestion as people board or alight their trains. Plans to modernise the public address system will provide clearer and easier to understand information for passengers.  The train shed roof will also be renewed bringing more natural light into the station as well as improved resilience against increased rainfall.  

Network Rail Anglia is also continuing to improve accessibility by trialling new technology and investing in accessibility research to ensure the needs of passengers are at the centre of its decision making when considering station improvements. The delivery of accessibility solutions during CP7, including those at Grays and Chalkwell in Essex will mean that everyone can enjoy the freedom of the railway. 

With 720 level crossing locations across Anglia, more than any other route, reducing risk and improving safety will be a priority. Whether through the provision of technology to enhance existing crossings or closing level crossings where there are alternative routes, it will help make the railway safer for everyone. Public events and safety campaigns within schools will also help raise awareness of the need to use level crossings sensibly, tackling misuse and trespass will all impact on train performance.  

Infrastructure upgrades will include completing a major re-signalling project in Cambridgeshire which will replace almost 700 signalling assets and provide a digital ready state-of-the-art signalling system for the wider area.  

During this new control period, major enhancements in the shape of two new stations will be delivered and planned to open in 2025 at Cambridge South and at Beaulieu Park in Chelmsford. These new stations will serve their growing communities by providing a new gateway onto the railway network and support wider economic development.  

Examples of other works include completing a renewal of the switches and crossings, which enable trains to move across tracks, at Forest Gate, Marks Tey and Halifax Junction on the Great Eastern Main Line, improving reliability of these crucial and busy junctions.  

Each route in Network Rail, including Anglia will also target the challenge of climate resilience, a critical area for focus by the whole industry. By being better prepared, the worst that Mother Nature throws at our railway can be minimised now, and into the future, to keep passengers and services safe and moving. Responding to that challenge through investment will make the railway more resilient and better performing during more frequent and intense weather events.   

Improving environmental sustainability will be commitment to communities through collaborative engagement, minimising waste, reducing carbon emissions and maximising efficiency to build a green railway. As part of that, an aim to achieve 0% net biodiversity loss by the end of the first year and net gain later in the new control period will be a focus by building on existing partnerships, planting more trees and improvements to the lineside environment.  

Supporting Sizewell C’s transport strategy to deliver up to 60% of its construction materials by rail and sea will contribute to the goal of building a greener railway by moving more freight in a more sustainable way. 

Lawrence Bowman, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia said: “The next five years will bring some exciting challenges for us as an industry and opportunities to make journeys better for passengers and improve their overall experience of travelling by rail. 

“We’ll be improving our infrastructure with new stations, upgraded signalling and enhancing our timetables for our freight customers. We will be supporting the increased use of rail to move more goods and materials across the region and the country in a more sustainable way.  

He added: 

“We’ll be supporting local communities by improving safety at level crossings and the way we manage biodiversity and our lineside environments to help build a greener railway for everyone that is more resilient to extreme weather events. 

“Collaboration and teamwork with all of our rail industry partners, contractors, suppliers, and the communities we serve will be a key component of our success over the next five years as we embark on the next five-year journey and write the next chapter for the railway in Anglia.” 

Image credit: Network Rail

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