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 1 December, 2017


Network Rail to sell commercial property business - Property Week

Property Week ran a positive story about the sale of our commercial estate portfolio. It’s noted the money raised will contribute toward the overall investment in delivering mega projects such as the Thameslink Programme, the Great North Rail Project, Crossrail, and the Waterloo and South West Upgrade


The big freeze - The Sun

Winter weather stories are beginning to hit the headlines. The Sun reports South Western Railway warned of possible delays following forecasts of temperatures as low as -10C in parts of the UK this week. The piece quotes: “Network Rail runs special vehicles to treat our tracks to reduce the effects of the poor weather conditions and will be taking appropriate action over the next few days.”


A strategic vision for rail - BBC and all national press

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling set out a new vision for the railway, including plans to end the operational divide between track and train and an evolution of the franchising system. The proposals – contained in the government’s strategic vision for rail – also include commitments to expand the railway network to boost housing and economic growth, and deliver major passenger benefits – including rolling out improved compensation schemes for passengers. The news has been covered by the BBC and all national papers. The Secretary of State said the sweeping proposals aimed at creating joined up teams running track and train will make the railway more reliable for passengers and ensure that it works as one to deliver for its customers. The reforms build on the Secretary of State’s speech to Policy Exchange in December 2016 and the recommendations of the McNulty and Shaw reports.

The announcement today is a positive move that builds on our own transformation plan that has devolved power to smaller regional businesses and created a ‘system operator’ to oversee the planning and timetabling of the network. The Government’s strategy also endorses, and will help accelerate, our plans for introducing digital railway onto our network that should mean that within 10 years, over 70% of passenger journeys could be enhanced through digital technology, helping to transform our railway for passengers.

 

Bringing track and train closer together is the right direction, and one we have been advocating for some time and is woven into our plans for next five-year funding period, as we have seen the benefits and responsiveness this can give for our customers and for passengers.

 

Today’s announcement offers the prospect of our devolved route businesses being able to build closer, more aligned and longer-term working relationships with more focussed, franchises in the future - all pulling in the same direction, working as one team, on one plan -  and that can only benefit all rail users, both passenger and business alike.

Mark Carne, chief executive, Network Rail


Network Rail criticised on Liverpool wall collapse – BBC

We were criticised following the collapse of a wall near Liverpool Lime Street in February, the BBC reports. Investigators said there had been signs of a dangerous situation "for a long time" and recommended the railway industry improve its structural risk assessments.