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Wed August 17 2022

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Rail funding agreed but Thameslink slips

25 Nov 10 Transport secretary Philip Hammond has set out a £14bn programme of works for the railways over the next four years, including Crossrail, although the Thameslink project has been allowed to slip two years to save costs.

Hammond’s written statement, issued today, reads:

Over the next four years, we will provide £14 billion of funding to Network Rail to support capital maintenance and infrastructure investment; and £750 million for high speed rail. We will also fund the Crossrail project, the Tube upgrade programme, light rail projects in Birmingham, Tyneside, Nottingham and Sheffield; and provide additional funding to franchisees for extra rolling stock.

Today, I can confirm we will fund and deliver the Thameslink programme in its entirety, virtually doubling the number of north-south trains running through central London at peak times. But the original programme for the rebuilding of London Bridge was always ambitious, with substantial risks around delivery, and operation of existing services, during construction.  To reduce these risks, we have re-profiled the delivery of the programme to achieve completion in 2018.  This will enable Network Rail to make further efficiencies to their design and delivery programme.

As part of the Thameslink programme, we will procure a new fleet of trains – up to 1,200 new carriages. This is in addition to around 600 new carriages which will be provided for the Crossrail project. The new Thameslink and Crossrail rolling stock will enable the redeployment of hundreds of serviceable electric carriages currently used on Thameslink services.  These carriages belong to rolling-stock leasing companies, but we expect they will be available at competitive leasing prices for re-use elsewhere, thus justifying further electrification of our network.

As a first step, Network Rail will electrify the commuter services on the Great Western Main Line from London to Didcot, Oxford and Newbury over the next six years. Electric trains will speed up journeys, improve reliability and reduce the impact on the environment. Network Rail will also electrify the lines between Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Blackpool - an investment of up to £300 million. Work is expected to begin next year and to be finished in 2016. As with Thameslink, we expect Network Rail to keep a tight rein on costs.

The redeployment of electric rolling stock to these routes will, in turn, free up hundreds of diesel units which will be available to Train Operators to lease as they become available in the period after 2015. 

I can also today confirm that an additional 650 carriages will have been delivered to the network between 6 May 2010 and March 2014.  This is in addition to the Thameslink and Crossrail carriages I have already mentioned.  

We have funding confirmed for developments at Reading, Birmingham, London Kings Cross and Gatwick Airport. In addition, investments on the East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line and improvements in Yorkshire, on trans pennine routes, around Manchester and in South Wales will improve line speed, reliability and capacity of services.

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