Fares, rail policy and DfT news

06.12.17

Government opens £600bn pipeline to develop major infrastructure projects

The government has published plans for a £600bn infrastructure investment pipeline, designed to bring major new construction projects across the UK.

The plan, which includes transport infrastructure, is part of a boost to the construction sector which government officials believe will save £15bn by increasing productivity.

The government has also revealed its Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy, which is aimed at tackling seven challenges to the transport industry.

They call for greater consideration of strategic trade-offs; setting up projects to deliver better outcomes for transport users; benchmarking; more robust estimating in projects; collaboration with industry enabling greater innovation; the use of new technology; and adoption of modern methods of construction.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the government needed to work to continue pushing infrastructure projects forward.

“We must also drive forward plans to ensure these infrastructure projects are completed on time and on budget,” he explained.

“World-leading projects such as Crossrail, the Ordsall Chord and the huge investment programme in our major roads show that Britain can deliver on time and on budget, boosting jobs and growth and creating new opportunities across the nation.

“But we want to do better. This strategy shows the way and sets out our standards for how we will do more and better in future.”

Andrew Jones, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, also backed construction plans, saying the scale of investment offered would deliver a “step change” for the UK.

Those opposed to the plans say that the projects being announced are things the government has already committed to and then failed to implement.

Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, commented: “The government has no shame, after a year of Tory claims that Labour would bankrupt the country with our 10-year £500bn investment plans, they are now presenting their own as a supposed £600bn scheme.

“However, the truth is that many of these are just re-announcements of projects the government has previously committed itself to, and is actually not new money. With only one in five projects in the 2016 National Infrastructure Pipeline under construction, this is just another reminder of how poor their record on delivering on their investment plans has become.

“The reality is that despite all the hype from the government, this announcement will really end up being more like an infrastructure pipe dream.”

In addition to the general infrastructure work offered by the government, there is a specific focus on transport with the development of the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Taskforce (TIET), chaired by Crossrail CEO Andrew Wolstenholme.

The recommendation was made by the efficiency strategy which includes input from Crossrail, Highways England, High Speed Two Ltd, Network Rail, TfL and the DfT.

Wolstenholme says he hopes TIET will allow the transport sector to “collaborate across transport bodies and central government to deliver a step change in the way we drive out efficiencies from our investment programmes.”

Comments

Nonsuchmike   06/12/2017 at 16:11

Let's not get carried away with hyperbole! "Innovative" or "challenging" are both better words than "world-leading" for the Ordsall Chord. It is relatively short bit of engineering over a couple of tricky sections. Scarcely in the order of Crossrail! Now can we have the Halton curve doubled and linked up with signals so that a half decent service can run between north Wales & Liverpool via Chester & vice versa? Thank you.

King's Lynn   07/12/2017 at 10:10

How on earth is the Ordsall Chord 'world leading'? I mean, credit to the guys who had to build the thing but it's not really on that scale. It's akin to describing your first cup of tea in the morning as a 'major milestone in the breakfast routine' One wonders if Mr Grayling ever reads over what he's said..

SPT   07/12/2017 at 15:01

Totally agree with the comments above... If the Ordsall Chord is "world leading" can I also propose Bacon Factory Curve/Chord just north of Ipswich for the same accolade??? Ground breaking in that it links the GEML with the Felixstowe branch allowing easier cross country freight links.... truly mind blowing stuff...

Sonning Cutting   07/12/2017 at 15:46

I agree that a bit of humility would be welcome from Grayling & DFT after the expensive deal they struck with Agility Trains for GWR & East Coast new trains. Some "informed sources" have reckoned they will cost up to 3 times the equivalent life-time cost for Pendolinos. After all it was only taxpayers money they threw at it! We may never really know as the actual figures appear to be a state secret. Or is it because the alleged performance on diesel power has overcome the basic Laws of Physics! Time [and perhaps the residents of Swansea] will ultimately tell.

Graham Nalty   08/12/2017 at 19:47

There are many important rail links needed to unlock the UK economy - between our larger towns and cities such as Bradford to Sheffield, Leicester to Northampton or Derby to Walsall which are still a long way off the Government radar.These should be implemented as the very slow services impedes access to jobs and discourages business to business meetings between supplier and customer. And we need to extend electrification with a rolling programme that develops and maintain skills rather than the present stop-go policy.

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