Network Rail reveals five-year plan

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Network Rail has revealed a commitment to significant investment and a better service in its new five-year plan (Control Period 6, CP6).

Continuing its trend of investment and creating a service fit for the 21st century, the next five year plan reflects record expenditure of £47Bn, with a more than a quarter increase in funding towards infrastructure reliability.

The ambitious plan looks to develop some 1,000 extra services per day by 2021, as well as ringing in the railway’s digital age. The plan will drive economic growth, jobs and housing by delivering a better railway for the millions of people who rely on it.

The plan aims to create a more reliable, cost efficient railway, with more capacity, whilst keeping its reputation as the safest railway in Europe.

The publication of the Strategic Business Plan (SBP) is a major milestone in the ongoing process to determine Network Rail’s funding requirements for the five years to 2024 (Control Period 6, CP6). The plan represents Network Rail’s initial, but detailed view, following the publication of Governments’ (England & Wales and Scotland) high level output specifications (HLOS) and statements of funds available (SoFA).

Mark Carne, chief executive, Network Rail, said: “Passengers journeys will be transformed in the next few years as thousands of new trains enter service. By 2021 there will be almost 350,000 more services per year than today – an average of an extra 1,000 services a day, better connecting communities and driving economic growth across the country.

“This plan builds on these improvements and sets out how we will make the railway more reliable and cost efficient and how we accelerate the technological transformation of our railway into the digital age.

“We will continue our strategy to work more closely with train and freight operators, working together in partnership to continue to expand the network for the millions more who will want and need it in the years ahead.

“It is an ambitious, but realistic plan that is not without challenge, but with great people working together in great teams, it can deliver the better railway that a better Britain needs.”

CP6 gives detailed route by route plans on Network Rail’s planned expenditure on operations, maintenance and renewals. There is a further £10Bn railway enhancement fund that the Government has made available for railway projects that maybe delivered by Network Rail or others.

Major investments will be seen in reducing delays, with a significant amount of funding earmarked for day-to-day improvements. While the works will also help usher in the digital age, with ‘conventional’ resignalling phased out and digital train control introduced.

The plan also contains some ambitious targets for the environment, for a better gender balance, and for the health and wellbeing of its workforce.

Mr Carne concluded: “Britain’s railways have seen a revival over the past decade or so and we have been working flat-out over the last five years to build new stations and new infrastructure to enable thousands of more services to come on stream to soak up that demand. For the next five years we need to relentlessly focus on making our railway more reliable while also ushering in new digital technology that with help to transform our railway in the years ahead.”


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