Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail’s route managing director for the West, said: “We are excited by these government announcements to add to the already massive investment programme on the Western route. “They include electrification of the Thames valley branch lines, even greater expansion plans for Oxford and bringing the old Digby Wyatt sheds at Bristol Temple Meads back into use, as well as improving rail links in the area around Bristol to benefit the local enterprise zone and the local economy.
“We had suspected that these items would be included in the new investment programme but it is good to see the Government’s commitment to these schemes. We are also looking forward to working on the business case for Western rail access to Heathrow Airport in London.
“Today, the government has issued a strong vote of confidence in the railway, and in our ability to deliver sustainable economic growth through development of, and investment in, the network. It is also a vote of confidence in the success of rail over the last decade, with over one million more trains per year with half a billion more passengers, at record levels of safety, punctuality and satisfaction.
“We do not underestimate the task laid down for us, but we will work alongside industry partners in the Rail Delivery Group to respond with a suitable plan. There are some tough targets, made even more challenging with the need to deliver record numbers of services on essentially Victorian infrastructure. That is why the pledge to invest billions of pounds in projects to improve, update and transform our railway is not only welcome but essential. Alongside this we will continue to deliver the highest possible levels of safety and performance across the network, while reducing costs for the remainder of this control period and the next.”