Network Rail sets out its plans to deliver a railway ﬁt for the 21st century over the next five years
Over the next ﬁve years (Control Period 4 or CP4) we will be spending over £34bn across the network, delivering improvements in safety, performance, capacity and availability. The improvements we are committing to will transform the railway for our customers, as well as the end users of both passenger and freight services.
£8.0bn will be invested to enhance the network, including projects to relieve crowding by lengthening platforms and increasing capacity to enable more and longer trains to run.
£9.2bn will be spent on day-to-day maintenance and the costs of operating and running the network.
£11.5bn will be invested in renewals – replacing older parts of the network (including track, signalling and bridges) with new parts.
£3.7bn has been included for further investments not funded through the periodic review, such as Crossrail and the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme.
With the railways more popular than they have ever been, we are increasing capacity across the network for extra freight and passenger journeys.
In Scotland for example, we are reopening the Airdrie – Bathgate Rail Link after 50 years of closure. This project also involves upgrading the existing lines between Bathgate and Edinburgh and between Airdrie and Drumgelloch.
The new railway will bring considerable social and economic beneﬁts for communities along the route, by creating a direct link from these communities to Edinburgh and East Scotland and to Glasgow and West Scotland.
We have undertaken a full Environmental Impact Assessment and are working with stakeholders such as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to protect the environment during construction.
We are also creating a new cycle path alongside the railway, which will be integrated with new stations to encourage a shift to public transport.
This project and many others in England, Scotland and Wales are helping to have a positive effect on communities throughout Britain.
Building on success
More passengers are using Britain’s railways than at any time in the last 60 years. More trains run on the network now than at any time previously. They are the safest they have ever been. And punctuality, at over 90 per cent, is the highest since records began.
Our challenge is to build on this success and deliver a bigger, safer, more reliable railway, available when our customers want to use it.
The next ﬁve years will see unprecedented investment in expanding the network and improving services for passenger and freight users. The task is a tough one, with ambitious savings to be made and further service improvements to deliver, but we are determined to succeed.
The plans for CP4 were developed with our customers. The railway industry now needs to work together to deliver these plans.
We have proved we can succeed. Our turnaround and successful completion of the West Coast Main Line modernisation is now delivering Britain’s largest timetable expansion in a generation, with increased speed and capacity for passengers and freight users alike.
Building on that success, our aim is to create a better way of running the railway.
We want to create a way of doing business whereby we place the needs of rail users and our customers at the core of what we do; that we are transparent and easy to do business with; and our stakeholders tell us that they have experienced a step-change improvement in the service provided.
The next five years
We will meet the expectations of our customers and stakeholders and deliver the required outputs for the funding available, without compromising safety and in a sustainable way.
The targets and improvements that we have agreed with government and the Ofﬁce of Rail Regulation represent both an opportunity and a challenge. The investment programme required is huge, signiﬁcantly more than at any time since privatisation.
We have funding for speciﬁc high proﬁle schemes such as the Thameslink Programme, the redevelopment of Reading and Birmingham New Street stations, Glasgow Airport Rail Link, and the Airdrie – Bathgate Rail Link.
Working with our train operator customers, we also have to increase capacity, particularly at peak periods, in order to accommodate increased passenger numbers. We will enable the running of longer trains through a signiﬁcant programme of platform lengthening and power supply upgrades.
We also have funding to begin the implementation of a strategic freight network to provide a network of trunk routes to accommodate future freight ﬂows, particularly from the major sea container ports.
Investing for all our futures
We are embarking on an investment programme that is bigger than any seen for a generation. It will provide the necessary infrastructure to run more and longer trains when demand is at its greatest, reducing crowding for passengers on their journeys to work into major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff.
In London, the Thameslink Programme involves major redevelopments at London Bridge, Blackfriars and Farringdon stations, and in outer London a wider programme of investment in platform lengthening and power supply strengthening, to get the most out of the new rolling stock planned to be introduced in CP4.
At King’s Cross, the major redevelopment will provide increased station capacity to handle passengers at peak times by providing a new western concourse, a new 12-car platform and better links with London Underground and St Pancras International.
In Birmingham, New Street station will be completely redeveloped, providing increased capacity to reduce overcrowding and improve access.
We will improve links between major cities with signiﬁcant investment on the main line corridors to increase the capacity of key junctions, provide additional track capacity, enhance power supply, increase linespeeds and lengthen platforms.
This includes preparing the infrastructure for the introduction of the new Intercity Express trains on the East Coast and Great Western routes, as well as major projects such as Reading redevelopment, capacity relief on the East Coast and linespeed improvements on London to Shefﬁeld and Manchester to Leeds routes.
There will be improvements to at least 150 stations across the network in England and Wales, and as part of our delivery of the Access for All programme accessibility will be improved at about 100 stations selected by DfT and Transport Scotland.
In Scotland, we will deliver new rail infrastructure including the Airdrie – Bathgate and Glasgow Airport Rail Link projects. We are working with Transport Scotland on the development of its investment programme for the longer term, including electriﬁcation of the network, major enhancements on the Edinburgh to Glasgow corridor to reduce journey times, and improvements to the Highland Main Line to increase service frequency and reduce journey times.
We will take steps toward delivery of the strategic freight network which will provide capacity and capability speciﬁcally for freight services. The ﬁrst stage of this is to provide enhanced capacity between Ipswich and Peterborough and to create a large container diversionary route between Southampton and Basingstoke.
Towards a seven day railway
We complete thousands of projects every year without disruption, while continuing to run Europe’s busiest railway. But the scale of some of our major renewals and enhancement projects means there will be some inconvenience going forward. But in all this work we consult with our stakeholders and we are investing in more innovative ways to deliver the work with the minimum disruption to passengers.
By the end of CP4 we are aiming to move from a whole weekend possession (54 hours) to 16 hours for much of our track renewal activity. This will allow train operators to run their existing services with less disruption. It will also provide the opportunity to run more services, particularly at weekends, where there is a demand.
Increased efﬁciency will drive further savings in operating and maintenance costs. During the last control period we achieved efﬁciency savings of 27 per cent. Our plan is to achieve further savings of 21 per cent during CP4.
Services will be more reliable than ever, with our overall Public Performance Measure planned to reach 92.6 per cent in England and Wales and 92.0 per cent in Scotland, and delay minutes attributable to us set to fall by nearly 25 per cent.
This means more trains on time and less disruption to passengers and freight users.