The effectiveness of control periods (CP) is to be assessed in a new inquiry by the transport select committee.
Chair Lilian Greenwood said the inquiry will address failures of the current CP, noting scrapped electrification plans, differences in regional funding, and uncompleted work tipping into the next CP as three of the biggest issues.
The committee said that around £3.4 billion of renewals are likely to be postponed from CP5 to CP6.
In addition, peaks and troughs in work can put additional pressures on rail supply chain companies, risking successful completion of projects on time and on budget, it added.
Against this background, the committee will look at whether the current system of planning and delivering investment in rail infrastructure is adequate.
One line of inquiry will investigate the reasons for the apparent regional disparity in rail infrastructure funding and the possible implications of the government’s policy of increasing the share of private sector financing in rail infrastructure.
Lilian Greenwood said: “We will consider whether the mechanism of control periods is the best way to manage investment in rail infrastructure.
“At a time when UK passengers have seen ticket prices rising far faster than their wages, the committee will examine whether the current system of planning and delivering investment is giving us the infrastructure we need if we are to have a modern 21st century railway.”
The government funds Network Rail in five-year cycles, known as CPs, which are designed to enable it to provide direction in terms of what work is expected and how much money is available.
The process for deciding the funding and output of Network Rail for CP6 (CP6: April 2019 – March 2024) has begun and will be complete next year.
Deadline for written submissions to the inquiry is December 18, 2017. Click here to submit a response.