Network Rail

Network Rail has unveiled a five-year plan to invest £38bn in transforming the railways across the UK, boosting the country’s economy.

The plan for England and Wales will provide additional trains, reduce congestion, more seats and bigger stations for millions of passengers across the country.

Implementation of the plan’s funding period came into effect from 1 April, targeting the busiest parts of Britain’s rail network.

UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that railway upgrades form a key part of the government’s economic plan.

"Investment will generate growth, create jobs and boost business while delivering faster journeys, greater comfort and better punctuality for passengers across the UK," McLoughlin said.

Under the plan, the company will increase capacity across the north of England to accommodate hundreds of additional trains and 44 million more passengers. It will also create thousands of jobs.

The Thameslink programme will increase the frequency to 24 trains per hour during peak times each way through the centre of London.

"Investment will generate growth, create jobs and boost business while delivering faster journeys, greater comfort and better punctuality for passengers across the UK."

The company will electrify more than 850 miles of railway network, including the Great Western Main Line, Midland Main Line and north and north-west England.

Under the East-West Rail project, a new electrified railway connection will be established linking the Great Western, West Coast and Midland main lines, connecting Oxford with Bedford and Milton Keynes.

Railway stations at Birmingham New Street, Manchester Victoria, Bristol Temple Meads and London Bridge, will also be upgraded as part of the expansion.

Around 500 level crossings will be closed to improve passenger, public and workforce safety, in addition to renewing 7,000km of track, around 6,000 sets of points, 7,000km of fencing and 300,000m² of platforms at stations.

Network Rail has also targetted increasing punctuality to 92.5% across England and Wales by 2019.


Image: Network Rail will invest £38bn to transform railways across the UK. Photo: courtesy of Gov.UK/Department of Transport and HM Treasury.