Network Rail secures £48bn for 2019 - 2024 programme

Network Rail's funding has been given a boost

Network Rail's funding has been given a boost

While funding for the early stages of developing new projects are included in Sofa, the government will allocate funds separately for major enhancements, based on the principles set out in the Memorandum of Understanding on rail enhancements agreed by the DfT and NR in March 2016 (PDF link).

Grayling confirmed that a new funding process will be introduced for major upgrades and enhancements with the aim of providing "more rigour in investment decisions".

In July, the transport secretary pushed back the rail funding decision, saying he needed "more assurance" on costs, saying Network Rail's progress on improving efficiency in recent years had "fallen short" of his expectations.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced £48bn spending on railways from 2019 to 2024 including more maintenance and the promised increase in renewals.

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"Given the need to spend public money wisely and to incentivise the industry to do so, I believe the funding envelope published today is stretching yet achievable. Today's announcement shows the Government's endorsement of this approach", concluded Mark Carne, Chief Executive of Network Rail.

He added: "I have taken steps to ensure that this money is spent more effectively and that the problems with cost and delivery which occurred during control period 5 are not repeated".

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Passengers will welcome this ongoing high level of railway investment".

The investment, spanning the five year period from 2019, is aimed at boosting train reliability and punctuality, major upgrades and new faster trains. Passengers tell us they want more reliable trains, a better chance of getting a seat or at least standing in comfort, and less delays. This investment will help underpin these improvements.

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"The proof of the value of this spend will be when passengers start to see more reliable services and better value for money". Passengers now pump around £9 billion a year into the industry. "Over the next 12-18 months millions of passengers will experience significant improvements to their services as thousands of new trains, faster and more frequent services come on-stream".

Sufficient funding of today's railway is essential to sustaining its reliability and safety so we welcome this important milestone. "This investment recognizes the critical importance of these activities in preserving the day to day operation of the railway".

"Network Rail is transforming into devolved businesses to better respond to its local customers and communities".

"We're pleased to see that government is listening to what passengers want..."

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