Government warns Network Rail to improve investment plans

Government warns Network Rail to improve investment plans

Members of Parliament in the UK have warn Network rail must show it can deliver record investment, following Christmas disruption.

Members of the House of Commons transport committee welcomes record investment committed to the ‘classic’ rail network but calls for greater regional balance in spending. 

Launching a report examining Network Rail’s programme of investment for 2014-19, Louise Ellman, chair of the transport committee said: “With over 1.5 billion journeys made last year, millions of people rely on a train service to get to work or see family and friends.

“We welcome the record spending planned for the ‘classic’ rail network, but Treasury statistics demonstrate that for too long this spending has been focused on London.

“We call for revised — and published — criteria to ensure fairer funding allocations that reflect wider economic and social objectives.”

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Ellman added: “The chaos faced by passengers over Christmas at King’s Cross and Paddington, and the continuing disruption at London Bridge, are unacceptable.

“They are also a worrying sign for the capacity of Network Rail to manage multiple, complex engineering projects simultaneously.

“Network Rail must demonstrate that it can deliver key improvements —such as electrification in the North West and the Great Western Main Line — on time, and while still delivering safe an efficient services for all passengers.”

She continued: “Reported delays to key infrastructure projects must be addressed by the Department for Transport.

“If a rail improvement or electrification project is announced for delivery in a set time period, there should be an expectation that it will be delivered on time.”

The Committee also called on the government to take responsibility for rolling stock, to address general shortages and ensure there will be sufficient trains to run on newly-electrified lines.