Network Rail in Wales and Borders has announced its five-year spending proposals to improve the railway at a local level, benefitting as many passengers as possible.
The £1billion+ plan for 2019-2024 (Control Period 6, CP6) builds on the transformation of Network Rail that began in CP5. Following the Network Rail devolution process, the plan is the first developed by Wales and Borders and is the result of regular engagement with stakeholders across the route.
The publication of the Strategic Business Plan (SBP) is a major milestone in the ongoing process to determine Network Rail’s funding requirements for the five years to 2024 (CP6). The plan represents Network Rail’s initial, but detailed view, following the publication of Governments’ (England & Wales and Scotland) high level output specifications (HLOS) and statements of funds available (SoFA). The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) will now review the plan and make a draft determination of Network Rail’s funding needs in June, and a final determination in the autumn.
Since 2014 (CP5), £900 million has been invested across the route. Flagship schemes, including the resignalling of the Cardiff area, have resulted in significant performance improvements and unlocked infrastructure capacity. Passengers will soon benefit from the North Wales Coast resignalling project, which will improve the resilience and reliability of the railway.
Andy Thomas, route managing director for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “Our customer-centric plan proposes record levels of expenditure for Wales and Borders. It sets out how we will continue to improve the railway and make it more reliable and cost efficient.
“The plan reflects our stakeholders’ collective objectives and supports economic growth, helping to connect people, businesses and communities. It includes the renewal of the iconic, Grade II listed Barmouth Viaduct and Phase 2 of the Port Talbot resignalling scheme, plus a significant number of diverse schemes to deliver as many benefits as possible for passengers at a local level.
“It is an exciting time for the railway in Wales and Borders. Our winning team of more than 1,600 employees, supported by a significant supply chain across Wales and Borders are dedicated to running a safe, reliable, affordable and growing railway. I am confident that by working with Transport for Wales, the new rail operator and our stakeholders we will deliver a better railway of which we can all be proud.”
Ken Skates, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “We look forward to working together to ensure we take every opportunity for delivering enhancements efficiently to realise capacity, journey time and reliability benefits for passengers.”
James Price,Chief Executive Officer, Transport for Wales, said: “We want the next rail service to lead to a significant improvement in people’s views and experiences of public transport in Wales and working closely with our partners is key to achieving this. We look forward to working with Network Rail to deliver the best possible service for customers, including importantly through increasing capacity and reliability.”
Tom Joyner, Managing Director for Arriva Trains Wales said: “Investment in our infrastructure is crucial to the long term future of the railway network in Wales and the Borders and we welcome the plans put forward for the years ahead. We’ve already seen how investment has helped us run more services, carry more passengers and deliver a more reliable service than ever before so we can look forward to some exciting times ahead.”