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Rail investment at record levels

21 Nov 13 Network Rail says that the past six months have seen record investment in UK railway infrastructure.

In its half year results statement for the six months to 30 September 2013, Network Rail said that it has spent £2,743m on infrastructure improvements, a 33% increase on the same period last year.

However, as previously reported, it has been having problems meeting efficiency targets. “Performance and financial targets remain the key focus of management and several initiatives are under way to achieve improvements in the second half of the year,” the company said.

In the first half of the financial year, Network Rail renewed more 300km of track and 150 switches and crossings.  Expenditure on signalling, structures, telecommunications, electrification and property assets has all been increased. There are big projects, such as at Reading, London Bridge and Birmingham New Street stations, and many more modest enhancement projects such as platform extensions, new signalling and new line side fencing.

Group finance director Patrick Butcher said: "The railway continues to experience tremendous growth and we are responding to that demand through the biggest sustained investment programme since Victorian times.

"With a million more trains and half a billion more passengers than 10 years ago our railways are all but full. We are squeezing all we can out of the existing network and new railway lines, such as HS2, must be built to deliver the step-change in capacity that Britain's vital rail arteries need."

Over the six months to 30 September 2013, revenue remained static at £3.267bn (2012 H1: £3.167bn). Operating profit was also largely unchanged at £1.199bn (2012 H1: £1.227bn). Net debt stands at £30.611bn, which is slightly up from £30.358bn at the start of the financial year.

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