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28.03.19

Network Rail to spend £42bn on railway improvements to ‘restore public trust’

Network Rail is to spend £42bn on the railway over the next five years in a bid to improve poor punctuality in “the biggest modernisation of our rail network in over a century.”

The arm’s length body has published detailed plans outlining investment into better trains, tracks and stations and bolstering its assets, timetables and information.

Network Rail, which was heavily criticised for its role in last year’s May chaos, said it intends to work much more closely with train operating companies as the funding for Control Period 6 (CP6) will for the first time go to individual regions with their own budgets.

Over £42bn will be spent on CP6, which starts on 1 April, today’s plan set out how this funding will be delivered following the ORR’s final determination.

Network Rail’s chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Passengers and freight users are at the heart of our plans over the next five years. Performance has been nowhere near good enough and public trust in our industry has declined. This must change.”

“Our role is to deliver a railway that people can rely on, with trains that turn up and arrive at their destination on time, and where passengers have confidence they are in safe hands. This is what we must deliver daily and what we will, and should, be held to account for throughout CP6.

He said the plans for the next five years will bring Network Rail much closer to train operators and local decision makers and “cut the red tape.”

Network Rail has also unveiled £5.7bn for its London-to-Carlisle region as part of a funding package from the government for “vital operations, maintenance and renewals activities.”

Rail minister Andrew Jones commented: “We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our rail network in over a century, spending a record £48bn the network’s infrastructure in England and Wales between 2019 and 2024, including funding for vital enhancements.

“By improving trains, tracks and stations right across the country, we will deliver more reliable, frequent and comfortable journeys for passengers and better connect our communities.”

Network Rail recently released plans for a new organisational structure, which will see 13 devolved geographic routes responsible for the day-to-day delivery of train performance.

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