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Network Rail’s £37.5bn spending plans for CP5

Network Rail has submitted its strategic business plan to the ORR, detailing its plans to spend £37.5bn running and expanding the railway over the next control period covering the five years to 2019.

The plan follows the publication of the HLOS (High Level Output Specification) by the Government in July 2012, and is submitted alongside ‘A Better Railway for a Better Britain’ outlining key commitments for the future.

If approved, the plans could provide 170,000 extra commuter seats at peak times and enable far more rail freight. In CP5, Network Rail plans to move 225 million more passengers per year and carry 355,000 more trains, including 20% extra morning peak seats into central London and 32% into large regional cities in England and Wales.

It is expected that PPM will be 92.5% by the end of period 5, 30% more freight will run on the railways and Network Rail will future proof critical infrastructure, including 30,000 bridges, embankments and tunnels against changing weather patterns.

CO2 emissions will be cut by 37% per passenger, the risk at level crossings will be reduced by 8% and over 800 signal boxes will be moved to 14 major operations centres. The cost of running the railway will be reduced by a further 18% and Network Rail plans to cut annual public subsidy to between £2.6bn and £2.9bn.

The ORR is expected to respond to the plans by autumn 2013, allowing Network Rail to publish its detailed CP5 delivery plan by 2014.

Sir David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, said: “One million more trains run every year than ten years ago, more passengers arrive on time than ever before, our safety record is one of the best in Europe and, despite the daily challenges we face, customer satisfaction is at record levels. Successive governments have made this possible by looking beyond the short term and recognising the critical importance of the railway to Britain's future.

“As our railway gets busier the challenges get bigger and more complex. We have entered an era of trade-offs. Increasingly we have to balance the need to build more infrastructure, run trains on time and cut costs, and in many areas choices will need to be made.

“As an industry we have achieved a huge amount, but we are already seeing the benefit of working more closely together with our customers and suppliers and that must remain at the heart of everything we do. Our aim is to be a trusted leader in the industry as we work to build a better railway for a better Britain.”

Tim O’Toole, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We are moving forward together as an industry, which is a significant development, but at the end of the day passengers and freight users must see the value in our efforts. That means satisfying the demands for more capacity but also the demands for value for money. The latter will only be met by achieving greater efficiency and better service for everyone who uses and pays for our railway.”

Office of Rail Regulation chief executive Richard Price said: “Ministers have shown huge faith in what the railways can add to Britain’s society and economy, committing to around £20bn worth of public money at a time when there is little money to go around. Key to maintaining rail’s success will be openly justifying this significant commitment of public money. Taxpayers significantly fund the railways, and have every right see where this money is being spent.

“Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan demonstrates the company’s ambition to deliver an even better railway for Britain. ORR will now scrutinise the plan on behalf of rail users and taxpayersto ensure every penny is made to count and that all those involved in delivering the plan work together to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and best possible value for money. Our analysis, informed by public views, will focus on ensuring Network Rail delivers the right plans, in the right ways, at the right cost.”

Specific projects set out in the plan include:

• Removing the biggest bottleneck on the GWML by rebuilding the railway in and around Reading station (£900m)
• Completing the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station (£600m)
• Delivering the Northern Hub project (£560m)
• Electrifying over 850 miles of railway including the Great Western and Midland Main Lines and introducing new, more reliable and quicker trains
• Supporting HS2
• Connecting Oxford with Bedford and Milton Keynes as part of the East West Rail project, which will provide a new, electrified railway linking the Great Western, West Coast and Midland Main Lines.

• Reconnecting the border towns of Scotland with Edinburgh by reopening 31 miles of railway closed by Beeching in the 1960s (£300m Borders rail project)
• Improving the route between Aberdeen and Inverness resulting in better commuter services and a new station at Kintore.

• Electrifying the GWML to Swansea
• Electrifying the Cardiff Valley lines
• Major resignalling work bringing more reliable services in the north of the country between Flint and Llandudno

• Increasing the number of seats for passengers in London by 20% during the busiest times of day
• Completing the Thameslink upgrade programme (£6bn)
• Undertaking the biggest and most complicated station rebuilding and remodelling ever on our railway, at London Bridge
• Completing the surface elements of the Crossrail project (£2.3bn)

• £200m investment in the Strategic Freight Network

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Ricp   01/04/2014 at 16:10

This list includes many schemes already in hand, Reading General, Birmingham New St and Thameslink, just three examples. What a pity it is taking so long to do a simple job like the 12 miles of overhead wiring from Gospel Oak to Barking. NR is working very hard in Scotland to finish electrification works like Rutherglen to Whifflet and Springburn to Cumbernauld before the Commonwealth Games in June, a similar attack of 'Urgency' would be welcomed in NE London, where trains are now dangerously overcrowded.

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