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Wed September 19 2018

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Network Rail sets out £47bn five-year plan

13 Feb Network Rail has published a five-year plan for investing £47bn in the network up until 2024.

The strategic business plan for Control Period 6 (CP6) is designed to make the railways more reliable, more cost efficient and have more capacity. Conventional signalling will give way to digital technology.

The plan is Network Rail’s response to the government’s high level output specifications (HLOS) and statements of funds available (SoFA). The Office of Rail & Road (ORR) will now review the plan and make a draft determination of Network Rail’s funding needs in June, and a final determination in the autumn.

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne, who last week announced his intention to retire later this year, 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.”

Planned expenditure of up to £47bn over the five year period represents a 25% increase on spending in CP5 (2014-2019).

Passenger numbers doubled in the last twenty years and are set to rise by around 40% by 2040. The investment in major projects in CP5 (2014-19) will see 6,400 more train services per week by 2021. The plan for CP6 contains investment in further projects to increase capacity.

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.”

Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “The rail sector is the single largest driver of activity for the UK’s infrastructure contractors. As such, members will welcome the additional clarity that has been provided by the publication of today’s strategic business plan.

“The last five years have proved challenging for industry due to volatility in the flow of work in the sector. Network Rail has recognised that this uncertainty needs to be addressed if we are to deliver an efficient and affordable service to the travelling public.

Further details on the five-year plan are at www.networkrail.co.uk/strategicbusinessplan  

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