Network Rail publishes £44bn five-year plan

24 May 2023
Network Rail has published its five-year plan for the railway in England and Wales, with priority given to tackling climate change and improving train performance.

Over the last two years, and more intensively over the past three months, Network Rail has been working on plans to deliver the best railway it can for the amount of money available - £44.1bn, which, after adjusting for changes in electricity costs, is £1.8bn more than the last wave of budgets.

While funding for enhancements to our railway is no longer included in this funding settlement, the Government has already committed substantial investment - some £96bn - in the Integrated Rail Plan, with a substantial portion of these funds being delivered in projects during the next five years.

The key investments in place are;

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  • Renewing lifts and escalators, improving lighting and passenger information systems to improve personal security and safety
  • Investing in earthworks and drainage renewals, operational weather expertise and continued investment in the Weather Risk Taskforce
  • Reducing emissions and targeted net-zero initiatives, focussing on meeting Government objectives for biodiversity, air quality and waste
  • Investing in technology and innovation such as installing equipment on trains that monitors infrastructure condition remotely without needlessly sending employees onto the track
  • Investing £1.85bn in next-generation signalling that has the ability to improve reliability
  • The introduction of major projects such as Transpennine Route Upgrade, preparing for HS2 and other targeted investment across the country
  • Supporting the continued growth of rail freight through a target of 7.5% growth across the network
  • Laying the foundations for GBR that will be key to the railway becoming more efficient through reuniting track and train. 

Network Rail’s Chief Executive, Andrew Haines, said: “As we look to the next five years, the Government’s commitment to invest £44 billion in the operations, maintenance and renewal of England and Wales’s railway is a clear indication of the strong economic value rail brings to Britain.

“Our plan for CP7 is ambitious, focussed on our passengers and customers and reflects the current complexities and challenges facing the industry. There will no doubt be obstacles ahead and I look forward to working collaboratively with the sector to deliver this plan, reshape the industry and build a railway that is fit for the future.”

Network Rail’s funding is made available from governments over five-year periods, known as control periods, with control period 7 (CP7) starting on 1 April 2024 and running until 2029. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) will now review this initial strategic business plan and review how it measures up against the Government’s HLOS and SoFA and publish its draft determination on this plan later this year including targets, measures and incentives it will hold Network Rail to deliver over CP7.

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