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A ‘quartet’ RNEP milestone passed – four years, four months, four weeks and four days since the RNEP was last published

18 March 2024 


Today (18 March 2024) marks another milestone in the life of the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP). A quartet of four years, four months, four weeks, and four days have passed since the Department for Transport last announced its future rail project enhancements plan despite a commitment in October 2019 to update the plan annually. 

In line with this ‘quartet’ milestone, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has four questions: 

Which rail schemes are under business plan development?
What business plan stage have the schemes progressed to?
What funding has been approved?
What are the potential timescales for delivery?

The new Procurement Act due to be implemented in October – when the RNEP reaches a potential five years of non-announcements – provides for the publication of pipelines and contract notices. The Government’s own Construction Playbook from 2022 states that “One of the most important things we can do is to prepare, maintain and publish comprehensive pipelines of current and future government contracts and commercial activity.”

The Rail & HS2 Minister Huw Merriman said in an interview last month (February) that he would “give a definitive view on the future of the RNEP in a very short timescale”.

Darren Caplan, RIA Chief Executive, said: “Given the budget for the RNEP is roughly £10bn over five years, there should be a clear and visible plan for how this money will be spent. It is concerning that four years, four months, four weeks and four days since the last announcement on RNEP projects, the pipeline remains unpublished.

“Piecemeal announcements have been made on individual projects but there is no comprehensive view on future enhancement plans for the railway. The Government should set out which rail schemes within the RNEP, the new Network North proposals, and the Integrated Rail Plan for the North & Midlands, will go ahead. It should also make clear if it intends to change, scrap or replace the RNEP process. Rail suppliers need clarity on which enhancement projects will proceed to deliver best value to passengers, freight and taxpayers in the long-term.”

Notes to Editors
  1. On Monday 18 March 2024, it will be 1612 days since the RNEP was last updated and announced. This equates to four years, four months, four weeks and four days. See the RNEP Enhancements Clock here.
  2. RNEP details can be found here and the 2019 update here.
  3. A link to the Construction Playbook 2022 can be found here.
  4. Rail & HS2 Minister Huw Merriman quote in Rail Director magazine, February 2024 (from page 8) – here.
  5. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has over 360 companies in membership in a sector that contributes £43 billion in economic growth and £14 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 710,000 people. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK; for every £1 spent in rail, £2.50 is generated in the wider economy. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). 
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