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, 30,000 bridges and viaducts, thousands of signalslevel 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, 27 April 2018

Public Accounts Committee report on franchising – all national papers

All the national papers cover the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on franchising. They’ve criticised the Department for Transport’s ‘completely inadequate’ management of two important franchises causing ‘untold misery’. The PAC report also criticised Network Rail, as well as Govia Thameslink Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast. The stories are being reported under various headlines saying the rail franchising model is ‘broken’.

Our chief executive Mark Carne is quoted.

“The PAC and I are in agreement that priorities and incentives of Network Rail and franchise operators need to be aligned. It is impossible to set a target for train performance without considering the capability of the infrastructure, and vice versa, so we have increased our involvement in franchise planning and specification to ensure the infrastructure performance is consistent with franchise targets.

“Our plan for the next five years is the best we’ve ever had, with each route having its own specific plan developed by local teams in consultation with local stakeholders including train and freight operators. We continue to work with Government and industry partners to bring track and train together to deliver a better railway for a better Britain.”

Mark Carne
Blackfriars platform with train travelling past

Performance inquiry – Evening Standard

The Evening Standard and report that Chris Grayling has ordered an independent inquiry into the ‘disappointing’ performance of South Western Railway. The review, to be carried out by Sir Michael Holden, will also include Network Rail.

Disagreement over new train services – Sunday Times

The Sunday Times reports that two of Britain’s busiest rail operators, South Western and Greater Anglia, are set to break promises to provide new train services to ease overcrowding. It is said to follow disagreements with Network Rail over the feasibility of the proposed improvements.

We have told the Sunday Times that discussions with train companies to finalise plans are ongoing, and emphasised that we are making improvements across the network over the coming years.

train passing level crossing at night

South Wales mainline modernisation – BBC Online

BBC Online reports that passengers in Wales are being urged to check before they travel, ahead of a five-week programme of work that will disrupt rail journeys.

“This year we reach a critical stage of our work to modernise the south Wales mainline. We are now focusing on the installation of the overhead line equipment between London and Cardiff that will power the new bi-mode trains.”

Dan Tipper, Network Rail project director

And finally…

See what we’ve been up to this week in our Week on the Network video. Catch up on past and future episodes on our YouTube channel.