Today, Network Rail released its five-year plan for the control period 7 (CP7), which covers the years 2024-2029 and is expected to cost over £44bn ($54bn).

The plan’s objectives propose increased investment in addressing climate change, enhancing train performance over current levels and making the railway even greener.

This plan adheres to the publishing of two key documents by the Department of Transport in December 2022. These documents set out the high-level output statement (HLOS) and the statement of funds available (SofA).

Following the publication of the document, the Government responded saying it “now expects Network Rail to develop detailed plans to deliver on these objectives, working closely with its customers.

“These will then be subject to strong and effective scrutiny by the Office of Rail and Road, as an independent regulator, to develop a robust, credible, value for money plans for the next control period.”

By investing £1.85bn in next-generation signalling, which has the potential to improve reliability and train performance and by providing passengers and freight users with the highest level of train performance possible in CP7, the UK-based company has stated that their goal for these plans is based on their customers.

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By GlobalData

Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s CEO, highlighted Network Rail’s intentions with the 5-year plan: “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.”

While funding for railway improvements is no longer included in this funding settlement, the Government has previously committed a significant investment of around £96 billion in the Integrated Rail Plan, with a significant chunk of these finances being delivered in projects throughout the course of CP7.

The Office of Rail and Road will now review this initial strategic business plan to see how it correlates to the Government’s HLOS and SoFA and will publish its draft determination on this plan later this year.

This will include the targets, measures and incentives that Network Rail will be held accountable for delivering over CP7.