UK rail enjoys renaissancenews
12th September 2018
As infrastructure gains investment, it seems the rail industry is enjoying something of a renaissance.
In the past 20 years, the rail network has grown significantly, managing to double the number of passengers since 1997. And now, the UK government has revealed that it will authorise a huge investment project in rail infrastructure, as well as renewing rolling stock. The open market approach along with the copious amount of investments promised, has unsurprisingly enticed international suppliers.
Two of the largest projects are in London - the £7bn Thameslink Programme and the £15bn Crossrail project - and are almost complete. Other work on the Thameslink, which managed to increase the capacity on the Victorian North-South route under London, finished early last year.
The Thameslink benefited from an enhanced timetable in May of this year, though the milestone was overlooked by untimely negative publicity regarding train cancellation and delays due to lack of planning. Overall, though, the infrastructure was successful - self-driving trains in the central core which ran with Automatic Train Operation, were a world first. The system, by Siemens, takes the place of the driver, allowing for high-level precision for a busy timetable with up to 24 trains per hour.
Meanwhile, the massive Elizabeth Line project is opening slowly. The main section, which runs under London, will open in the coming December. To complement this, a spacious interchanged has been built at Farringdon, which will ease interchange between the Thameslink route and the new Elizabeth line.
The UK has built a reputation for its 'feast-and-famine' investment tactics, whereas other European countries have preferred to keep up a steady spending level. The UK has also been late to the party when it comes to high-speed rail, where France, Germany, Italy and Spain have all implemented high-speed networks across the country. However, the UK is catching up to speed with the £56bn HS2 investments creating a Y shaped route - linking London to the major cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
It's unclear whether these high levels of rail infrastructure investment will continue. However, it's easy to see that the railway industry is currently a booming spot for UK construction.
Written by Ian Johnson