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Network Rail sign alliance agreement with GWR

A new alliance between Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) is set to encourage co-operation on large-scale improvements to the western railways.

Network Rail and GWR signed a formal alliance at Swindon station today with the aim of delivering a better travelling experience for passengers by working more closely together.

The agreement covers five key areas of working and commits both companies to a more aligned approach to further improve performance and increase efficiencies.

Mark Hopwood, GWR’s managing director, said: “Our railway is going through the biggest investment since Brunel, and between us it is our job to make sure customers see the full benefit of that work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“This agreement formalises many arrangements that have been in place for some time, while also identifying new ways of working together to deliver value for passengers.”

Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “To deliver these extensive improvements and minimise disruption as much as possible, it’s essential we formalise a number of the good things we are already doing and set joint targets for improvement.”

Langman added that the improvements, as part of Network Rail’s £40bn Upgrade Plan, include electrification of the Great Western Main Line, a new signalling station, new tracks and upgraded stations.

Back in January, Sir Peter Hendy revealed the completion dates of each element of the delayed Great Western Main Line electrification programme. As RTM reported all elements of the programme will only start seeing electric trains running in CP6 (2019-2024).

The update came two months after Sir Peter’s long-awaited review of all CP5 projects was published, under which no projects were cancelled, most would go ahead as planned, but many “unrealistic and undeliverable” milestones were pushed back into CP6.

Part of this portfolio was the Great Western electrification scheme, which had already suffered a series of setbacks due to poor productivity linked to buried cables, inefficient use of midweek access, permissions and design standards, and many other issues. The costs also swelled massively.

The new alliance news also comes after the South West alliance started to unravel last year, and was ‘reshaped’.

Back in June, it was announced that infrastructure decisions were to be put back in the hands of Network Rail for the South West Trains route, and the post of route managing director reintroduced. The work to ‘reshape’ the alliance was due to be completed by the end of August.

The SWT-NR deep alliance was formed in April 2012, putting in place a single joint management team responsible for infrastructure and train operations on Network Rail's 1,000 km Wessex Route.


S Moore   04/03/2016 at 11:41

One day I'd like to get a train out of Cornwall at the weekend, that didn't involve a bus replacement service! It would also be a vast improvement if the line speed between Penzance and Exeter could be increased from the current 60mph And will I live long enough to ever see an inland diversionary route between Plymouth and Exeter avoiding the dreaded Dawlish coastal route?

Lutz   04/03/2016 at 21:29

So the take away from that is that GWR is not confident that NR is yet in a condition were it can meet the targets on the infrastructure deliverables.

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