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Rail plan launched by industry leaders

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In a comprehensive display of unity, rail industry leaders have outlined strategies to take forward £37 billion worth of investment, stressing a commitment to cut costs and a determination to work together.

Says Jeremy Candfield, director-general, Railway Industry Association, ‘This plan is not more of the same; it marks a shift to a fundamentally different railway. Suppliers are working with the other industry parties to seek to ensure that it is delivered as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.’

The plan takes forward delivery of government transport proposals outlined last summer and covering CP5 – Control Period Five, 2014-19. The plan aims to double capacity for passengers, attract more freight and make the railway more reliable and customer friendly.

£200m investment in the Strategic Freight Network will accommodate expected  growth of 30% in rail freight tonnage by 2019.

Many of the projects are familiar to railway staff.

The plan takes forward electrification of over 850 miles of railway including the Great Western and Midland Main Lines, the Cardiff Valley lines and the Glasgow – Edinburgh route. The Northern Hub goes ahead as does the East West Railway connecting  Oxford – Bletchley – Bedford.

Future-proof railway infrastructure

The plan also recognises the need to future-proof railway infrastructure against bizarre weather including heat waves, cold snaps and flooding.

Says David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, ‘One million more trains run every year than ten years ago, more passengers arrive on time than ever before, our safety record is one of the best in Europe and, despite the daily challenges we face, customer satisfaction is at record levels.

‘Successive governments have made this possible by looking beyond the short term and recognising the critical importance of the railway to Britain’s future. As our railway gets busier the challenges get bigger and more complex.

‘We have entered an era of trade-offs. Increasingly we have to balance the need to build more infrastructure, run trains on time and cut costs, and in many areas choices will need to be made.’

Minsters have been encouraged by the Paisley Canal Electrification project which saw ScotRail waiving compensation claims boosting the speed of the project and substantially lowering costs.

Says Tim O’Toole, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, ‘We are moving forward together as an industry, which is a significant development.’

Higgins underscored the value of working together. ‘As an industry we have achieved a huge amount and we are already seeing the benefit of working more closely together with our customers and suppliers and that must remain at the heart of everything we do.

‘Our aim is to be a trusted leader in the industry as we work to build a better railway for a better Britain.’


  1. There are two things that really grate about Railstaff. One is that the paper is positive about the industry to the point of being ridiculous. There is no balance. Not everything we do is right, good and proper – some things need to be challenged. And now there is a second problem – Andy Milne. I have just browsed through the print edition. Apparently, people who have seen rail fares rise faster than inflation and well in excess of their income, and who have to stand for the duration of their journeys, are “bellyaching”. Well actually Andy, no they are not. They are rightly complaining about having to pay through the nose for a less-than-adequate service. Milne is clearly a guy who is out of touch and paid too much. Such comments do your publication no credit at all.

  2. This just in from Andy Milne –
    RailStaff exists to support and encourage people actively working in railways. It is an attempt to redress the historic anti-rail bias in reporting elsewhere in the media. Our detractors may find this over the top. We stand by what we report: Good news about a great industry. On the subject of fares our sympathies are with the 1000s of ordinary railway staff who have to cope with the wrath of commuters every January. Listen to Michael Roberts at ATOC : “We understand commuters don’t like to pay more to travel to work but it is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year. Successive governments have required train companies to increase the average price of season tickets every January since 2004 by more than inflation. Ministers want passengers to pay a larger share of railway running costs to reduce the contribution from taxpayers while sustaining investment in better stations, new trains and faster services.’

  3. And my reply to him –
    So, as a result of all that fluff, you feel justified in writing-off as “bellyaching” any hard-working person who has the audacity to voice their concerns about the impact eye-watering fares have on their ability to heat their home or feed the kids? Perhaps, for you, this issue just means that you’ll make do with last year’s suitcases for this year’s cruise; for some of us it is about fundamental life choices. I work in the industry too but cannot look friends in the eye when it comes to fares, particularly those who can never get a seat on their train.
    Enjoy life in Utopia, counting your money.

  4. Mike – I was interested to read that you work in the railway industry. I wonder in what area as you seem a little unclear on how train fares, fare increases and the funding of the industry actually work.
    Network Rail is publically funded. How that money reaches them, whether it is from a government subsidy, track access charges or any other source, is largely immaterial. Network Rail is required to do an amount of work, a combination of maintaining and improving the railway infrastructure, and that work and the cost of it is agreed with the regulator – the ORR. The money is then provided for them to do it.
    How Government recovers that money is a separate decision. It could just award Network Rail a large sum of money each year from the general treasury budget. Then taxpayers would fund the entire operation, whether they actually travel by rail or not.
    However, Government actually chooses to claw some of that money back from the travelling public. In fact, year on year, it wants passengers to make a greater contribution and, correspondingly, non-travellers to make a smaller one. That is why fares increase at a greater rate than inflation.
    You might feel that this is only fair. You might not and feel that people who choose not to commute to work by train should support those who do. That’s a separate debate.
    So there is no need to avoid looking your friends in the eye when fares go up – it isn’t a rail industry decision, it is a governmental one.
    So it should be your MP who fields the complaints, not you.

  5. I fully understand how the industry is funded and who sets fare increases – you seem a little unclear on the point I am making. What I object to is hard-working people who are increasingly cash-strapped being labelled “bellyachers” by some guy who gets overpaid to write words, simply because they voice their displeasure at being robbed blind for the right to stand on a train.


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