The more efficient we are, the more we can invest for passengers. We’ve been entrusted with public money and it’s our duty to spend it wisely.

By 2024, we will save £3.5bn by pursuing better value and doing more for less.

We’re exploring a portfolio of new technologies to speed-up our work, on and off the track. We’re implementing new streamlined processes and structures that make us more effective at what we do. And we’re looking at innovative ways of working – better planning, better deals, better designs – that will allow us to deliver our plans for passengers at lower cost.

Growing railway

More passengers and trains are using the railway than ever before. Our spending grew to keep up with the extra building and repairs required of a busy, safe railway. Recognising the need for investment, the government entrusted us with a budget of £42bn for CP6 (control period 6, 2019 – 2024), after we’d demonstrated how we’d become more effective and save money.

We’ve explored our options and have committed to safely deliver a better value railway through the implementation of a company-wide efficiency portfolio. We’ve identified around 1,000 initiatives covering 23 key efficiency areas where we’re able to do more for less. Over CP6 we will squeeze every penny of value out of every pound invested, saving £3.5bn through new technology, innovation and working smarter – money which we can then reinvest for passengers.

Case study – rail milling

Replacing damaged rail is expensive and time consuming. On suitable stretches of track, we now have the option to use the rail miller instead.  

Specialist equipment onboard a dedicated engineering train is used to grind away the top layer of damaged rails. On targeted areas, this refreshes and renews the damaged rails so they are like new. It means we avoid costly and time-consuming track replacements, and so disrupt passengers less.

Using this new machine will save Network Rail £80m by the end of CP6.

We have thousands of initiatives like this when added together, bring our efficiency savings to £3.5bn.

Rail milling machine

Watch the video below to find out more about the rail milling machine

Case study – electrical safety delivery

To work on an electrified railway, our engineers must first turn off the power and make the site safe. It’s not as simple as flipping a switch – it’s a long, difficult and dangerous process, which involves walking to site and placing heavy kit on location, which eats into the work time.

We are now modernising that process by rolling out new trackside technology and hardware that will speed it up and make it safer.

High-tech control centres or ‘location cabinets’ are being installed next to the railway that will allow our engineers to turn off the power and make a site safe without having to go onto the track. Eventually, this hardware will work in conjunction with a mobile app and will save an average of 40mins per shift, meaning more work can get done, safely, and with less risk of overrunning.

This new technology and process will save £318m over CP6 and CP7.

Watch the video below to find out more about electrical safety delivery

Case study – contestable projects and new suppliers

By reviewing our standards on how we construct office buildings and depots next to the railway, we’ve been able to open-up to new suppliers and businesses who wouldn’t normally get to work with us on these types of projects. Working with new suppliers can bring new and smarter ways of working, innovation and new technologies and greater efficiencies.

We’ve trialled this approach while rebuilding Stoke Maintenance Delivery Unit (MDU). It’s an essential base for our engineers to deliver improvements for passengers in the area and desperately needs replacing. The builder will construct a new, modern ‘flatpack’ office, which is much cheaper, greener, and quicker to install.

By putting work out to market in this way, and working with new suppliers, we will potentially save 30% on our £200m MDU portfolio.

Watch the video below to find out more about the rebuilding of the Stoke Maintenance Delivery Unit

Case study – Quicker access to sites for our suppliers, contractors and customers

We work with hundreds of other business around the country who help run the railway. We arrange safe access for their staff so they can run and maintain the equipment and services they provide for Network Rail and passengers.

Cornerstone help run our telecommunications services and have around 250 masts next to the railway which need regular maintenance to make sure they’re working correctly and providing a good mobile phone service.

We’ve worked with Cornerstone to trial a new process that reduces the amount of paperwork involved by 93% saving both organisations time and money. In doing so, we have reduced the average time it takes to complete low-risk and ground-level maintenance visits from 397 days to 93 days.

Watch the video below to find out more about quicker access to sites for our suppliers, contractors and customers