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UK Rail Industry News November 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
05/11/2019
Industry News

Rail Delivery Group pledges £20 billion 2020 investment

The UK rail industry has pledged to invest £20 billion to introduce 8,000 new carriages and over 11,300 extra services per week from 2020. 

The plans are part of a new investment programme launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and will focus on two key areas:

  1. Upgrade works of the existing railway infrastructure
  2. Refurbishment of most train carriages

Titled “Investment Report 2020,” the new investment plan comes shortly before the publication of the Williams Rail Review, which is due for release in autumn 2019.

An overall increase of almost 10%, the new services will aim to improve rail connections for the 1.4 million people regularly using trains across the country, as well as boost freight opportunities, which currently deliver £30bn worth of goods to consumers every year. 

Among the improvements due to be delivered next year are also new trains for passengers using the TransPennine Express, Merseyrail, LNER, Northern, Hull Trains and Grand Central networks.

Building on the importance of bolstering these services, RDG’s chief executive Paul Plummer said that the report was published as “people want a better railway”.

In a statement announcing the plan, the RDG also highlighted that “improving rail connections will be vital to ensure that our economy thrives,” especially as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

In Wales, an ongoing £40m refurbishment programme will continue as 186 more services will be running on Sundays. 

A total of £1.4bn will also be used for 169 new and refurbished trains on the Greater Anglia network, which will also benefit from a £27m route upgrade that will allow longer trains to run between Cambridge and King´s Lynn. Track upgrades on the route will further enable ten more freight trains per day to run to Felixstowe, helping to remove 760 lorries from the road. 

In southwest England, an £80m upgrade of the sea wall in Dawlish is planned. In addition, a new service will link London’s St Pancras International and Corby every 30 minutes. 

Some 180 new trains will further be introduced to accommodate 50,000 additional passengers to and from Birmingham. Wolverhampton Interchange will also be inaugurated as part of an upcoming £150m rail hub. 

In London, construction of 90 new trains destined for the South Western Railway franchise is planned in 2020, while Gatwick Airport’s rail station will receive a £150m upgrade.

As for Scotland, the report revealed a £120m major redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street Station and the renovation of Aberdeen Station are both due to begin in 2020.

Commenting on the plans, the RDG’s Paul Plummer said that they “will drive economic growth and increase productivity”. 

Finally, the report mentioned that growing passenger rates across the country are allowing the railways to cover day-to-day costs, as 98p of every £1 spent on tickets will be invested in operating and improving services. Full story.

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