The UK Department for Transport (DFT ) has released the government’s comprehensive spending review for the rail sector, aimed at reducing the country’s economic deficit while sustaining long-term growth.

DfT has committed to £18bn ($28bn) of rail investments, including Crossrail , £6bn ($9bn) on major local transport projects, funding for a further tranche of private finance initiative projects and additional funding for tube upgrades.

The review pledges funding for major station upgrades totalling £2.1bn ($3.3bn), including Birmingham New Street, London King’s Cross, Reading and Gatwick Airport stations.

The government will also proceed with plans for a national high-speed rail network, costing £750m ($1.18bn) and revealed that public consultation on the project’s proposed route from London to the West Midlands would start early in 2011.

It is also considering revised proposals from Agility Trains for the Intercity Express Programme and will make an announcement soon.

Other amendments include increasing the cap on rail fares, encouraging rail franchises, developing rail freight and major network enhancement projects.