Network Rail’s multi-billion pound investment will be passenger-centric
Posted: 28 March 2019 | Global Railway Review | No comments yet
The plans show how the company will spend over £42 billion to increase reliability and improve performance over the next five years.
Detailed plans for a multi-billion pound investment to improve the UK’s railway for passengers have been published by Network Rail.
The plans focus on making improvements to what matters most to passengers and freight users, targeting punctuality and reliability through better assets, timetables and information, and working much more closely with train operating companies.
The plans have been worked up from a local level, with individual regions benefitting for the first time from their own budgets, designed in collaboration with local people.
Earlier in 2019, Network Rail accepted the Office of Rail and Road (ORR)’s ‘final determination’, which set out what should be delivered for the funding available. This publication of delivery plans gives detail on how the money will be spent.
Network Rail’s Chief Executive, Andrew Haines, said: “Passengers and freight users are at the heart of our plans over the next five years. Performance has been nowhere near good enough and public trust in our industry has declined. This must change.
“Our role is to deliver a railway that people can rely on, with trains that turn up and arrive at their destination on time, where passengers have confidence they are in safe hands. This is what we must deliver daily and what we will, and should, be held to account for throughout CP6.
“Our plans for the next five years bring us much closer to train operating companies and local decision makers, they cut red tape and make it easier for others to work with us, and most importantly they put a real focus on the users of the railway.”
Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our rail network in over a century, spending a record £48 billion on the network’s infrastructure in England and Wales between 2019 and 2024, including funding for vital enhancements.
“By improving trains, tracks and stations right across the country, we will deliver more reliable, frequent and comfortable journeys for passengers and better connect our communities.
“In order to effectively deliver our plans for CP6, and to rebuild trust with those that use the railway, we must change the way we work, both within our own organisation and with the rest of the industry. We are embedding a customer service culture at every level and from now on we will work together to put passengers first.”
Paul Plummer, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, commented: “The people and businesses who rely on the railway every day will welcome Network Rail’s commitment to focus on punctuality over the next five years. With Britain’s railway one of the most congested in Europe, the last five years have been about delivering mega-projects to boost capacity. Now, it’s time to get back to basics with train operators and Network Rail working even more closely together at a local level to ensure the trains run on time.
“As rail’s role in boosting economic growth increases, the industry must become more responsive to the needs of the towns and cities it serves, so it is right that Network Rail is focused on achieving this.”