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  • Our vision

    Our vision is a better railway for a better Britain

  • Our vision is a better railway for a better Britain. This means delivering a railway that is safer, more reliable and more efficient than ever before, and that will help to build a thriving, sustainable economy.

    Britain’s railway does more than transport passengers and goods. It brings people and businesses closer together, which creates new jobs, opens up new markets and stimulates economic growth. So we must aim to provide the best possible service to everyone who relies on the railway – passengers, the train operating companies and businesses nation-wide.

    The challenges

    We know that fulfilling our vision will not be easy. The railway has now reached the point where each year:

    • Nearly 1.7 billion passenger journeys are made – more than twice as many as in 1995.
    • A million more trains run than just ten years ago.
    • More than 100m tonnes of freight are transported by rail between Britain’s ports, factories and warehouses.
    • More people use the railway than at any point since the 1920s – when the network was almost twice its current size.

    This ever-increasing demand means that at peak times there is no space left on the busiest parts of the network, which leads to congestion and delays.

    Fulfiling our vision

    Our rail network is the fastest growing and safest in Europe. But there is still some way to go to create a railway fit for 21st century Britain. Which is why we are investing more than £25bn in developing our infrastructure between 2014 and 2019, so that we can deliver more services and better journeys.

    This is the largest programme of sustained investment in the railway that Britain has ever seen. It involves a wide range of improvements, from lengthening platforms and redesigning track layouts to introducing electrification and building world-class stations. We are also exploring and defining ways in which we can harness the power of digital technology to help increase the network’s capacity in the longer-term future.

    Sharing our vision

    To fulfil our vision, we need to collaborate effectively with our industry partners. For example, in 2012 we devolved day-to-day operational control to our routes to enable them to work more closely with the train operating companies that use our infrastructure.

    We are also making sure that we unlock the potential and expertise of all our people, to take us to the next level of performance.

    Our focus on safety

    At Network Rail we believe that outstanding business performance and outstanding safety performance go hand in hand. Essential to our vision is a culture in which everyone working on the railway makes safety their number one priority every day.

    Find out more about our approach to safety.

  • Reducing delays

    Since we took over responsibility for the rail infrastructure in 2002, we've reduced delay minutes from 14.7 million per year to 7.7 million.

    Delay minutes (millions)

    • 2002 / 03 - 14.7
    • 2003 / 04 - 13.7
    • 2004 / 05 - 11.4
    • 2005 / 06 - 10.1
    • 2006 / 07 - 10.1
    • 2007 / 08 - 9.5
    • 2008 / 09 - 8.9
    • 2009 / 10 - 6.7
    • 2010 / 11 - 7.4
    • 2011 / 12 - 7.0
    • 2012 / 13 - 7.5
    • 2013 / 14 - 8.1
    • 2014 / 15 - 7.7

  • Our plans for rail

    Our Delivery Plan for 2014 - 2019 details a £25 billion programme of investment in the railway.

    Our Long-Term Planning Process take an in depth look at different parts of the country to grow the rail network where demand requires.

    Planning Ahead is a series of documents that sets out a vision for the railway in thirty or forty years.