Network Rail announced £38bn expansion plans


Network Rail announced £38bn expansion plans


The five-year plan targets the busiest parts of Britain’s rail network and includes the following changes:


  • Up to 700 more trains a day between major northern cities
  • 20% increase in the capacity of London's commuter trains
  • 850 miles of track to be electrified
  • An east-west rail project connecting Oxford and Milton Keynes
  • Upgrades for stations including Birmingham New Street and Manchester Victoria


According to the five-year plan, more than 850 miles of railway will be electrified and many rail stations throughout the country including London Bridge, Manchester Victoria, Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Queen Street are to be updated.


Moreover, the plans will see the renewal of over 7,000km of track and replacement of 300,000m² of station platforms, renewal or refurbishment of nearly 6,000 sets of points and replacement of 7,000km of fencing.


From the allocated investment of £38bn to be spent on Britain’s railways over the next five years, £13bn will be invested in capital expenditure projects to tackle overcrowding by building new tracks, uncorking bottlenecks,increasing capacity and upgrading old stations.


David Sidebottom, acting chief executive of rail watchdog group Passenger Focus, said: "The £38bn investment for Network Rail over the next five years is welcome, particularly during difficult economic times.


"Passengers should ultimately see an improved rail service bringing the things they tell us they want: improved punctuality, reliable trains with more seats."


In addition to this capital expenditure, £12bn will be spent on replacing and renewing older parts of the network. Additional £13bn will be spent on daily maintenance and the costs of operating and running one of the busiest networks in Europe.


The works on the five-year plan will run from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019.


Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “A key part of this government's long term economic plan is investing in world class infrastructure. That is why we are putting record amounts of government funding into our railways over the next five years. That investment will generate growth, create jobs and boost business while delivering faster journeys, greater comfort and better punctuality for passengers across the UK.”


Photo Source: Network Rail