HS2

23.11.16

Digital Railway to receive £450m Autumn Statement funding boost

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced new funding for the Digital Railway in today’s Autumn Statement.

In his speech before the House of Commons, Hammond said the UK needed to raise productivity to create a “high-wage, high-skill economy that will deliver higher living standards for working people”.

To deliver this, he announced a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, of which £450m will be spent on trialling digital signalling technology, expanding capacity, and improving reliability.

The funding allocation per year will rise through the next five years, from £30m in 2017-18 to £285m in 2020-21.

Earlier this year, David Waboso, the recently appointed director of Digital Railway, announced his intention to revise the pilot project after a few weeks in the job.

The Transport Select Committee, while predominantly in favour the project, did warn that plans for the developments risk discouraging supplier confidence if they have to be scaled back.

Speaking at the TransCityRail North Conference earlier this month, Phil Bennett, commercial director of Digital Railway, said the project would need early certainty over its CP6 funding to be delivered sustainably.

The programme passed a milestone last week as Hitachi Rail Europe began testing digital technology on its Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains.

Following the Autumn Statement, Chris Pike, development director for Infrastructure at Arcadis, said: “Investing £450m in the digital railway programme will take our country out of the Victorian era. It will totally revolutionise our railways, increasing capacity, improving the much maligned experience of passengers and improving punctuality and safety.

“Recognising the benefit that rail digitalisation has had across Europe, it is our belief that the digital railway programme will keep the UK at the leading edge of the rail industry and will contribute substantially to increasing growth and productivity across the country.”

(Image c. Network Rail)

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Comments

GW   25/11/2016 at 17:55

Why do the day job when you can be distracted by a fantasy future?

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