Network Rail announces bold £37.5bn infrastructure plan

Posted on 8 Jan 2013

Network Rail will spend £37.5bn on rail upgrades and new projects in the 2014-2019, known as control period 5 or CP5.

The rail industry today set out an ambitious plan to deliver government priorities for rail and respond to the challenge to provide a better value railway for Britain.

The plan announced by Network Rail, which is responsible for the UK’s railway infrastructure, promises faster journeys, 170,000 more peak time commuter seats and improved reliability but depends on making savings and rising fares. It covers the period from 2014 to 2019.

Network Rail’s vision for rail in Britain sets out six strategic goals which it will try to implement simultaneously in the period. These include passenger satisfaction levels of at least 90%; capacity for approximately twice as many passengers, with reduced journey times and better connectivity; a more attractive offer for freight, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and levels of reliability and safety among the best in Europe.

Consumer group Passenger Focus welcomed investment but said it was important to keep travel costs “under control”.

The infrastructure programme includes some high priority projects across the UK, including:

In England:

  • Rebuilding the railway in and around Reading station (£900m), which will remove the biggest bottleneck on the Great Western Main Line
  • 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

 In Scotland:

  • Reconnecting the border towns of Scotland with Edinburgh by reopening 31 miles of railway closed by Beeching in the 1960s (£360m Borders rail project)
  • Improving the route between Aberdeen and Inverness resulting in better commuter services and a new station at Kintore.

In  Wales:

  • Electrifying the Great Western Main Line to Swansea
  • Electrifying the Cardiff Valley lines

The programme includes more projects including those specific to the London region and in freight rail development.

Consumer group Passenger Focus welcomed investment but said it was important to keep travel costs “under control”.

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “We aim to build on today’s record levels of customer satisfaction by combining the best of the public and private sectors to provide newer trains, quicker journeys and more seats.”

Jeremy Candfield, director-general, Railway Industry Association, said: “This plan is not more of the same; it marks a shift to a fundamentally different railway. Suppliers are working with the other industry parties to seek to ensure that it is delivered as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.”