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News from the UK Rail Industry for November 2018

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

Government launches new Rail Sector Deal to promote innovation and lower infrastructure costs

The Government has launched a new Rail Sector Deal to encourage and support innovation and bring down infrastructure costs.
Plans outlined on December 6th reveal goals including doubling the number of industry experts by the year 2025. The new deal is part of a revamped Industrial Strategy, which promotes the exchange of ideas and suggestions between different industries and sectors.
Andrew Jones, rail minister, said that the deal will enable us to build on the influence of the rail sector by capitalising on the power of new technologies, creating new jobs and providing a better service for rail customers. The government also expects the deal to contribute to reduced infrastructure costs, to encourage young people to consider careers within the industry and to support small businesses.
Measures outlined by ministers include lowering the cost of signalling by 2025, providing more apprenticeships, creating a data sharing platform to promote innovation, and raising awareness of the jobs available in the sector.  Full story


Public supports new rail line connecting Heathrow to the West

A public consultation has expressed robust support for the creation of a new line, which will connect Heathrow Airport with the West.
Under new proposals, the new link would enable customers travelling from Reading, Slough, Twyford, and Maidenhead to catch a train directly to the airport via the Great Western Line.
The consultation, which was overseen by Network Rail and the Department for Transport, revealed that over 70% of people were in favour of the new line. Eleven percent called for ministers to speed up the completion of the project.
According to Network Rail, the new link would enable passengers to travel from Reading to Heathrow in just 26 minutes. It is also believed that the line, which would be predominantly underground, would reduce traffic and facilitate economic growth in the area.
Route managing director for Network Rail, Mark Langman, said that he was “delighted” with the results and confirmed that final plans would be submitted in 2019. Full story


Crossrail delays could cost an extra £3 billion

Delays in the development of London’s Crossrail line could push the total cost of the project up to £3 billion over budget.
London mayor, Sadiq Khan, recently confirmed a fresh bailout for the project, which includes a loan from London worth £2.05 billion. The latest rescue effort could nudge the total up to £17.6 billion.
A recent review by Mark Wild, the new Crossrail chief executive, revealed that the expected opening date of autumn 2019 is also no longer viable. The date has already been pushed back from December 2018, and a new completion date has not yet been estimated.
There is major work still to complete, including parts of the east-west rail line and construction of tunnels and stations. Signalling systems also need to be tested.
KPMG estimates that the delayed opening could cost more than £2 billion. Mr Khan stated that it was evident that projections provided by previous Crossrail leaders were “far too optimistic.” The mayor described the work as a “monumental project,” which must be completed as a priority to serve London’s ever-growing population.
Mr Wild suggested that there is a huge amount of work still to do to make the project viable, but insisted that he and his team were working to create a “robust and deliverable schedule.”
Once completed, the Crossrail network, which will be known as the Elizabeth Line, will carry around 500,000 passengers per day.  Full story

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