By Ben Jones
NETWORK Rail’s draft strategic business plan for 2019-24 prioritises renewals and upgrades aimed at reducing delays by 15% across the network, plus a greater emphasis on safety and a commitment to recruit 50% more women by 2024.
More than £47billion will be invested in completing previously agreed enhancements, maintaining and improving Britain’s railways over the five-year plan, known as Control Period 6 (CP6).
However, in comparison to previous control periods, there is a noticeable lack of new major projects, with NR focusing on general improvements and completing current schemes.
Outgoing NR chief executive Mark Carne said: “This is a radical plan, an ambitious plan. It is not without challenge and risk. But with great people, great teams, the right quality of leadership, the right incentives and the determination to see it through, it can deliver the better railway that a better Britain needs.”
NR has allocated £18.5bn for operations and maintenance, a 25% increase over CP5, and a similar figure will be spent on the renewal of life-expired equipment.
The plan also includes £10bn to complete previously agreed enhancements.
New major projects are to be subject to a completely separate funding process, handled directly by the Treasury as business cases are presented to Network Rail, which has allocated £1bn to supporting and developing these schemes in CP6. One major project that does feature is the trans-Pennine Route Upgrade, which is already in progress.
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