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Five-year rail investment programme begins


£38bn to be spent on Britain’s railways

Network Rail launched its Delivery Plan for Control Period 5 (2014-2019) on 31 March. Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: ‘Millions of passengers and freight users will benefit enormously from the plans we set out today to wisely spend and invest £38bn in transforming some of the busiest parts of our railway network.’

Network Rail and its industry partners plan a programme of investment to tackle congestion on the busiest parts of the network, providing capacity for 170,000 extra commuter seats at peak times, including capability to run hundreds more trains a day between the key cities of the north of England, and a 20% increase in central London’s commuter rail capacity through completion of the Crossrail and Thameslink projects.

Of the £38bn to be spent on Britain’s railways over the next five years, £13bn will be invested in capital expenditure projects:

  • The Northern Hub programme, providing faster journeys and the capacity for hundreds more trains per day between key northern cities.
  • The Thameslink programme will be completed, with 24 trains per hour each way through the centre of London. Crossrail trains will increase capacity for travel through the capital by a further 10%.
  • More than 850 miles of railway will be electrified, including the Great Western main line from Maidenhead to Swansea, the Midland main line from Sheffield to Bedford, and lines across the north and north west of England.
  • A new, Electric Spine railway linking the Great Western, West Coast and Midland main lines will connect Oxford with Bedford and Milton Keynes as part of the East West Rail project.
  • More than 30 miles of new railway will reconnect border towns of Scotland with Edinburgh.
  • Stations including Birmingham New Street, Manchester Victoria, Glasgow Queen Street and London Bridge will be transformed.

In addition, £12bn will be spent in replacing and renewing the network, and a further £13bn on day-to-day maintenance and the costs of operating and running one of the busiest, most intensely used networks in Europe.

The company pledges to close a further 500 level crossings by 2019, investing more than £100m as part of its ongoing programme of work to improve safety and reduce risk to passengers and the wider public.

By September, a series of ten route-based climate change strategies will be published, setting out specific measures to be taken to mitigate the effects of severe weather and improve the railway’s long-term sustainability.

By 2019 Network Rail has agreed to deliver punctuality levels of 92.5% across England, Wales and Scotland while running more trains and carrying more people than ever before. Annual government subsidy is planned to reduce from around £4bn today to £2bn by 2019, says Network Rail.

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