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Rail companies launch plan to deliver £9.2bn economic benefit to south east

Rail companies have come together to launch a long-term plan for the railway in south east London and Kent.

The region’s rail companies, suppliers and local authorities have teamed up to launch ‘In partnership for Britain’s prosperity - south east London and Kent,’ which sets out the plans to deliver £9.2bn of additional economic benefit across the wider south east region.

It forms part of a national plan first launched by the industry last October, and sets out how the four key national commitments made by the railway will deliver for people in south east London and Kent.

These four commitments are to strengthen the economy, improve journeys, boost communities and provide rewarding careers.

Plans for the region’s railway include an ongoing £6m investment in major refurbishments, including installing more waiting shelters on platforms in 28 stations, the introduction of cycle hubs, and the installation of new service information screens and announcement systems in more than 160 stations.

The South Eastern franchise, which will commence next year, is expected to deliver more space for an additional 40,000 passengers, and Network Rail is investing £300m to enhance track power supplies and extend platforms to give passengers more space.

By working together, rail companies will invest more than £425m in the region’s railway by April 2019, and 150 new jobs and 25 new apprenticeships will be delivered.

Backing for the plan was given by Southeastern, Network Rail, High Speed 1, Arriva Rail London, the freight sector and the rail supply chain.

Hans-Georg Werner, chair of the Rail Delivery Group freight board, explained that the region is strategically important for the UK, providing a gateway to opportunities in Europe and beyond, and so both passengers and rail freight will benefit from the investment.

Robert Nisbet, regional director at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The railway is crucial to the region’s economic prosperity connecting workers with jobs, goods with markets and friends and family to great days out.

“Delivered by working together, this plan will benefit not only the people who use the railway but communities, businesses and people who work on the railway across South East London and Kent.”

Network Rail’s route managing director south east, John Halsall, added: “The railway in South East London and Kent is one of the busiest parts of the network, helping more than three million people a week travel to work, school and for leisure.”

Managing director of Southeastern, David Statham, added: “Local communities rely on Southeastern trains every day, and businesses recognise the role that the railway plays in helping grow local economies across Kent.

“Eight out of 10 Southeastern passengers are satisfied with our service – but we know that there’s always more we can and will do to deliver a better railway. That’s why we have set out this plan with our partners today.”

Top image: duncan1890


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