Railway companies operating in the west of England have collaborated on a long-term plan to improve the region’s railway services.
Great Western Railway, CrossCountry, the Hitachi Rail Group, the Rail Delivery Group, Business West, TravelWatch SouthWest, the Severnside and TransWilts Community Rail Partnerships, the Peninsular Rail Taskforce, the Cornwall Business Council, the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group are all involved in the plan, ‘In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity – The West of England’.
The project sets out an investment of £2.4bn for operations, maintenance and refurbishment of railways from 2019-2024 to provide enhanced services.
It is in addition to the ongoing upgrades including the electrification of the Great Western main line and nearly £500m of private investment to procure new intercity trains to increase operating frequency and reduce journey times.
In the plan, the public and private sector companies also propose to improve services, offer better connectivity and provide careers to the employees, as well as help in boosting the region’s economy.
Great Western Railway managing director Mark Hopwood said: “The West’s railway, a partnership of the public and private sectors, is fundamental to the region’s prosperity, connecting workers to jobs, businesses to markets, and people to their families and friends.
“Working in partnership, the railway’s plan will spread growth to communities across the region and drive unprecedented improvements for our customers.”
The plan is also expected to deliver £9.45bn of additional economic benefits along the Great Western main line.
Network Rail Western Route managing director Mark Langman said: “The railway is a crucial piece of the region’s infrastructure, moving the people and goods that power our economy faster and more efficiently, connecting businesses in the West of England to markets all over the world.”