UK rail investment

Network Rail has given the green light for a multi-billion pound investment in the UK’s rail infrastructure over the next five years.


Network Rail has given the green light for a multi-billion pound investment in the UK’s rail infrastructure over the next five years.


The rail operator today accepted the Office of Rail Regulation’s (ORR) £28.5bn spending budget, which will come into operation from 1 April 2009 and will continue to 31 March 2014.


The budget includes a £10bn spend on day-to-day maintenance and the costs of operating and running the network and a £10.8bn investment in replacing older parts of the network such as signalling and bridges.


An additional £7.6bn will be invested by Network Rail on projects that will tackle overcrowding by lengthening platforms and increasing capacity.


Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail, said: ‘The next five years will see unprecedented investment in expanding the network and improving services for passenger and freight users.


‘The task the ORR has set us is a tough one with ambitious savings to be made and further service improvements to deliver, but we are determined to succeed.’


In delivering this budget the ORR has set a number of targets that focus on train punctuality and cost allocation.


The ORR hopes that operational costs will be cut by an additional 21 per cent on top of the 27 per cent saving already achieved by Network Rail since 2004.


In light of these regulations and current economic conditions, Network Rail has said that it will postpone its plans to raise £6bn of corporate debt.


Instead, the money will be raised through the bond markets, with the government indemnity attached.