Millions of people across the UK are set to benefit from an ambitious five-year £38bn spending and investment programme – part of the biggest sustained investment programme ever – that will transform today’s railway giving passengers more trains, more seats, reduced congestion and bigger, better stations.
The five-year plan will see the busiest parts of Britain’s rail network targeted making a very real difference to millions of people’s lives and providing a significant boost to the economy.
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.”
The people of Devon and Cornwall also heard some good news today as Network Rail confirmed that their railway will be reconnected to Britain’s network on April 4th following two months of tremendous efforts by hundreds of railway engineers in, and around, Dawlish.
A massive landslip, involving the collapse of 20,000 tonnes of cliff-face near Teignmouth on March 4th, had threatened the planned opening.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Millions of passengers and freight users will benefit enormously from the plans we set out today to wisely spend and invest £38bn in transforming some of the busiest parts of our railway network.”
Today, more than 1.5 billion passenger journeys are made by rail each year and by 2019 the railway will be carrying more people than at any time in its history.
The rail industry’s five-year plan will:
Carne commented: “Passenger, public and workforce safety will be at the core of our plans. Good safety performance and good train and business performance go hand-in-hand and in both, we must strive for, and deliver, continuous improvement day by day.”
As well as the big projects, the day-to-day task of delivering a safe and reliable railway will be even more important and tough to deliver as more services and more improvement work becomes ever more challenging to balance.
Investment in this area includes:
Carne concluded: “We are good at delivering projects both great and small and at providing a safe and reliable railway but want to do even more for the people that rely on our railway network.
“This investment responds to the growth and demands being placed upon us by delivering bigger, better stations, more trains and seats, reopened railway lines and fewer level crossings.
“We all want an improving, safer, successful and better value railway for everyone, and that is what we will do.”