Croydon Tram

London’s rail network hopes for investment after DfT funding boost

In a boost for the capital's transport system, ministers and Transport for London (TfL) have agreed on a new £250 million funding injection for 2024. This investment will support vital improvements and create jobs across the country.

"We're investing in transport across the nation, and this agreement will have a tangible impact on Londoners and visitors alike," said rail minister Huw Merriman. "It's fair to taxpayers and supports hundreds of skilled jobs in our vital rail sector."

The funding will be used to continue TfL's investment program, including new building 74 new trains for the Piccadilly line. This project alone is estimated to create 700 skilled rail manufacturing jobs in Goole and up to 2,000 more across the country's supply chains. The new Piccadilly line trains are designed and built by Siemens Mobility and form part of their Inspiro family of metro trains. It was recently announced that the trains are currently going through testing at Siemens Test and Validation Centre in Wildenrath in Germany.

Huw Merriman quote

TfL had been hoping to replace to the oldest Electric Multiple Unit trains in the country, the 50 year old Bakerloo line trains, with similar sets being built for the Piccadilly line. However it remains to be seen whether this new funding will stretch to investing in the new Bakerloo fleet. If the go ahead is given, it would be welcome news for Siemens plant in Yorkshire.

TfL are also hoping to replace the Croydon Tram fleet by 2028. The Bombardier CR4000 fleet has been in operation since 2000, and has gone through two refurbishments in 2006 and 2015. However they are expected to reach ‘end-of-life’ in 2028. Two-thirds of the current tram fleet for Croydon consists of the Bombardier model.

"TfL has made a huge effort to become financially sustainable for daily operations," said London's transport commissioner Andy Lord. “It is good news that we have now reached an agreement with the Government on the capital support that they will provide over the next year, and we are grateful for the support.

“However, we will now need to reassess our recent draft business plan and address the impact of the continuing shortfall in funding. That work is underway so that we can confirm as soon as possible what we will deliver for London.”

This latest package builds on the nearly £6.4 billion that the government has already provided to support London's transport since 2020. Under the previous settlement, £1.2 billion of government funding supported almost £3.6 billion of major projects.

"TfL is now benefiting from around £2 billion annually in retained business rates," said the government statement. "This funding aims to help TfL modernise, operate efficiently, and reach a more stable financial footing."

As part of the deal, TfL will outline its plan in July to maintain financial stability while reforming its pension scheme and seeking efficiencies in its investment program. Both the government and TfL agree that this funding cannot be used for TfL's day-to-day operations.

Photo Credit: iStock

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