In the news this week

Network Rail is always in the news.

Catering for 4.5m rail journeys every single day, while simultaneously delivering an ambitious, multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan focused on renewing and upgrading 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run), means we have a wide-reaching impact and the work we do is extremely newsworthy. 

Every week, we'll highlight just a few of those interesting news stories.


Friday 24 November, 2017


Network Rail launches commercial asset sale – The Financial Times

The Financial Times reports we are pushing ahead with plans to sell our commercial property portfolio, in the first part of a disposal programme aimed at “shoring up the indebted infrastructure operator’s finances.”

It’s a tangible example of our approach to capital discipline, our approach to living within our means, recognising that we have to behave like a business and if our growth ambitions exceed our funding then we have to look at other ways of raising funding. 

 

I made it absolutely clear at the beginning of this process that we had to be able to retain all the rights we needed to maintain the integrity of the railway system.

Mark Carne, chief executive, Network Rail


Network Rail let me have a play on Manchester's new rail bridge – City Metric

There’s a detailed feature piece in City Metric about Ordsall Chord after their reporter was taken to site and given a tour. The piece is incredibly positive and explains the benefits of the project by linking Manchester's main railway stations for the first time.


Thameslink improvements coming in stages - Modern Railways

Modern Railways reports a phased introduction is planned for the Thameslink Programme improvements to ensure operational robustness when the extra services are introduced. Around 70 per cent of the capacity benefits will still be delivered in May 2018 when 18 trains per hour (tph) will operate through the 'core' section between Blackfriars and St Pancras at peak times. Thameslink frequency will then be progressively ramped up, with 20tph introduced in December 2018, 22tph in May 2019 and finally the full 24tph service in December 2019.


The budget - BBC and all national papers

The budget naturally made a lot of headlines this week. In rail-related budget news, Philip Hammond's statement spoke of a new discount railcard for people aged 26-30, as reported in the Daily Express, Independent, Guardian, Daily Mail, City A.M, Daily Mirror, Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, and the BBC. News about the £31bn Crossrail 2 project was reported in City A.M., Financial Times, Evening Standard and The Sun. The Daily Telegraph has a piece saying railway lines across Britain are to benefit from a cash injection to improve the connectivity of mobile devices. While the Daily Express said in order to ensure the HS2 project can cope with future rail improvements the Government will invest £300 million.

 


Completion of London's Thameslink rail project delayed until December 2019 - Guardian

It has been announced that GTR will not begin running 24 trains per hour through the Thameslink core until December 2019, which is a year later than scheduled. Thameslink Programme Industry Readiness Board chairman Chris Gibb said the decision to take a phased approach to introducing the new timetable meant that the changes could be “more reliably introduced.” The story is reported in the Evening Standard, The Guardian, and The Times. Additionally, an NAO report has disclosed that the cost of upgrading the north-south Thameslink line had increased by £474 million in the past five years. The Times had the story.

 


Wedding on track after commuter proposes using Waterloo information screen - ITV

A commuter is on track to get married after using the information screen at Waterloo station to pop the question. ITV reports Lisle Hunte decided to propose to his girlfriend on the concourse where they met 18 months ago.