Network Rail in the UK has developed a plan to divide the country’s rail infrastructure into ten strategic routes as part of its plan to improve operational efficiency and cut costs by £5bn between 2009 and 2014.

Under the new plan, each route will operate as a separate business unit with its own accounts and management team to operate, maintain and renew the infrastructure.

There will be benchmarking of financial performance and efficiency between the routes, and parties will share best practice.

A new national centre in Milton Keynes will be opened in 2012 to provide facilities of asset management, logistics, operational planning, information management and other national functions from all over Britain to support the route teams and their customers.

The reform is in line with McNulty’s Rail Value for Money study, conducted in May 2011, which said Network Rail can save about £1bn every year by working together with the train operators.

Network Rail has already devolved the Wessex and Scotland routes in June, resulting in cost savings.

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