Network Rail to investigate new lines

Network Rail is to conduct a strategic review to assess the case for building new lines across the UK’s rail network.



The review will look at five of Network Rail’s strategic routes, north and west of London including Chiltern, East Coast, West Coast, Great Western and Midland Main Lines.



‘By 2025 many lines will be full up, especially those running to and from the north and west of London,’ said Iain Coucher, Network Rail’s chief executive. ‘This will happen even after we have implemented the investment to boost current capacity.



‘With popularity for rail growing, we have to start planning for the medium- and long-term future today. We have to see how we can meet the capacity challenge and see what solutions – including potentially, that of new lines – are deliverable and affordable. This review, working in partnership with other players in the railway industry, will kick start this process.



‘Network Rail is uniquely positioned to take a network-whole approach in planning the railway of the future. We have a thriving railway today and that must continue and grow to meet the economic and environmental needs of tomorrow’s Great Britain.’



According to Network Rail, passenger numbers have increased by 40 per cent over the past decade. Around 22,000 services run during the week, up from 17,000 at the time of privatisation. Over the same period the amount of freight has risen by 60 per cent. Current projections point to similar growth over the next decade.



Network Rail says it has launched a tendering process to appoint a consultancy to assist the study.