UK Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has approved Network Rail’s £35 billion (EUR 39.5 billion) investment under the Control Period 6 (CP6), running from 2019 to 2024.
The five-year period investment includes £31 billion (EUR 35 billion) for England and Wales and £4 billion (EUR 4.5 billion) for Scotland to make Britain’s railway more reliable and focused on passengers’ needs.
“”These plans are focused on improving performance for passengers and freight operators by getting the basics right – ensuring that the railway is properly maintained and renewed, and on improving the daily operation of the railway,” John Larkinson, Chief Executive, ORR said.
ORR has approved £24.3 billion (EUR 27.4 billion) to be spent in Great Britain on maintaining (£7.7 billion-EUR 8.7 billion) and renewing (£16.6 billion-EUR 18.7 billion) the existing railway, with renewal work seeing a 17% increase from the £14.2 billion (EUR 16 billion) in CP5.
CP6 will see a £3.4 billion (EUR 3.8 billion) investment in operations, £2.6 billion (EUR 2.9 billion) in support and £4.3 billion (EUR 4.8 billion) in other activities.
For both passengers and freight operators this will help cut delays caused by infrastructure failures, such as track defects. The ORR’s increase in the Performance Innovation Fund from £10 million-EUR 11.3 million (in ORR’s draft determination) to £40 million (EUR 45 million) will support the testing and implementation of new ideas from across industry to improve punctuality.
The five-year plans will see Network Rail become much more locally focused, with each of its 8 geographic routes having its own budget, delivery plans and scorecards. In addition, ORR has strengthened local routes’ ability to buy goods and services they need locally rather than centrally, where it offers better value for money. This is an important part of giving more responsibility to Network Rail’s routes, which are best placed to deliver for local passengers and freight users.
With over 1.7 billion passenger journeys being made in 2017-2018, it is vital that innovation keeps pace with changing needs and ensures that the network continues to provide a good service to passengers and freight customers. To assist with this, a £245 million (EUR 276.5 million) research and development fund will be available over the five years to help develop new technology that improves industry’s performance or efficiency. The use of this fund is contingent on additional governance arrangements being agreed between Network Rail and the ORR.