Network Rail’s London-to-Carlisle region unveiled a GBP 5.7 billion (EUR 6.67 billion) plan to run a safe, reliable railway for its customers over the five years from 1 April 2019.
The London North Western (LNW) region runs the railway infrastructure in the Chilterns, West Midlands, North West, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria. Accounting for 24% of the country’s railway network, LNW employs 7,300 people.
Known as the ‘Backbone of Britain,’ LNW includes the West Coast main line, the busiest mixed-use railway in Europe and the economic spine connecting Britain’s main cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.
In its funding package for the five years to 2024, Government has given LNW £5.7bn for its vital operations, maintenance and renewals activities supporting the region’s business vision of “one team delivering brilliant service for customers and taxpayers.”
Significant activities in LNW’s 2019-to-2024 plan include EUR 3.16 billion railway upgrades, major resignalling and track remodelling at Crewe on the West Coast main line, upgrading the signalling system for the Birmingham area, work to develop the Midlands Rail Hub, supporting the safe and successful delivery of HS2, supporting the delivery of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the construction of East West Rail Phase 2 – Bicester to Bedford, the introduction of new train fleets to improve capacity and reliability and securing more than EUR 350.9 million of external funding for railway and station upgrades.
“Our plans for the next five years bring us much closer to train operating companies and local decision makers, they cut red tape and make it easier for others to work with us, and most importantly they put a real focus on the users of the railway,” Network Rail’s chief executive Andrew Haines said.
The plan is vital for railway activities, as in the five years to 2024, passenger demand is forecast to rise by 12% (2% a year) with freight demand set to increase 18% (3% a year).