Network Rail unveils plan for CP6news
26th February 2018
Network Rail has released its five-year SBP (Strategic Business Plan) in a major step forward to determine the required funding for the five years up to 2024 or Control Period 6.
The recently published plan aims to drive jobs, housing and economic growth by making the rail network more reliable and increasing capacity and safety.
There are also plans to raise the number of services by 350,000 per year and up to 1,000 a day by 2021, to prepare for the forecasted 40% increase in passenger numbers by 2040.
The government announced that provisional funding available in October could mean that Network Rail could benefit from up to 25% more money to spend on everyday operations. Just £10.1bn will be used for enhancements or rail upgrades, with the main focus expected to be on the TransPennine service from Leeds to Manchester.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne commented: “It is an ambitious, but realistic plan that is not without challenges, but with great people working together in great teams, it can deliver the better railway that a better Britain needs.”
The plan also includes ambitious environmental targets, including hopes of reducing energy consumption by 18%, carbon emissions by 25% and mental health absence by 30%. An aim of a better gender balance, at a target of 50% more employed women, is also specified.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “The last five years have proved challenging for industry due to volatility in the flow of work in the sector. Network Rail has recognised that this uncertainty needs to be addressed if we are to deliver an efficient and affordable service to the travelling public."
The plan has been described as ‘the biggest investment in railways since the Victorian era.’ However, it is subjected for review by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) ahead of the final determination during the autumn of 2018.
Written by Ian Johnson