Posted 22nd May 2023 | 1 Comment

Bad weather is increasing Network Rail’s costs

Bad weather and ageing structures are costing Network Rail more, but it says it has been ‘working on plans to deliver the best railway it can for the amount of money available’.

It has just announced its budget for Control Period 7 – the latest five-year budgeting plan which starts in April next year.

The total allocated in England and Wales is £44 billion, which is £1.8 billion more than in the current Control Period. Figures for Scotland depend on the Scottish Government’s calculations, and are due to be published in the summer.

Funding to enhance the railway is no longer included in the CP budgets, and Network Rail pointed out that the government has committed to spending £96 billion on the Integrated Rail Plan.

The shopping list for the £44 billion includes investment of £1.6 billion in earthworks and drainage, which are increasingly put under pressure by climate change, as well as the fact that most of the railway was built in Victorian times and cannot be expected to last indefinitely without remedial work.

Network Rail said its aim is ‘a more punctual and reliable railway than today’, and improving services for passengers and freight users.

Other investment includes ‘next generation’ signalling, renewing lifts and escalators, improving lighting and passenger information systems, reducing emissions and ‘making every penny count’ by achieving efficiencies of £3.4 billion.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘As we look to the next five years, the government’s commitment to invest £44 billion in the operations, maintenance and renewal of England and Wales’s railway is a clear indication of the strong economic value rail brings to Britain.

‘Our plan for CP7 is ambitious, focused on our passengers and customers and reflects the current complexities and challenges facing the industry. There will no doubt be obstacles ahead and I look forward to working collaboratively with the sector to deliver this plan, reshape the industry and build a railway that is fit for the future.’

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  • Steve, Exeter

    Can you please stop copying Whitehall language and say cutbacks, which is what efficiencies means. If you recall, it was originally efficiency savings. Dropping the savings part makes it sound positive, which it most certainly isn't.