Rail industry calls for greater certainty over enhancements

Today, the Department for Transport has published the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP), setting out a new process for infrastructure upgrades on the UK’s railways.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, responded to the announcement:

“Last autumn the Railway Industry Association welcomed the £48bn announced for operations, maintenance and renewals funding for 2019 to 2024, but made it clear that without necessary enhancements, the rail network would be unable to keep up with future demand. So whilst we welcome the Government’s support for individual market led schemes, such as a new southern rail link to Heathrow Airport, the announcement does not maintain the funding for enhancements overall to at least current levels, which are required to ensure the rail supply chain can continue improving services and increasing capacity. This is clearly a concern for our members.

“We also note from the announcement that new rail schemes are now to be decided in a staged approach. However, it is disappointing that the pipeline released today has no construction ready schemes which is likely to result in a significant reduction in enhancements workload in the next few years. We would therefore urge the Government, to accelerate projects where possible and give the rail sector longer-term visibility and certainty on the enhancements pipeline of work for 2019-2024, so that suppliers can plan and invest.

“Regarding the Hansford Review recommendations on third party investment into the railway, we agree with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that the knowledge and expertise of private funding should be increasingly used to deliver enhanced rail connectivity, ultimately benefiting both passengers and taxpayers. We urge both the DfT and Network Rail to implement all of Professor Hansford’s recommendations and welcome today’s Call for Ideas as a step towards greater contestability in the rail market”.

Note to Editors
  1. The Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline can be found here
  2. The Hansford Review report can be found here and Network Rail’s response can be found here.
  3.  About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has some 200 companies in membership, in a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight Page 2 set to grow significantly too. 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). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry. www.riagb.org.uk 

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