Network Rail’s London-to-Carlisle region today unveiled its £5.7bn* plan to run a safe, reliable railway for its customers over the five years from 1 April 2019 (CP6**).

The London North Western (LNW) region runs the railway infrastructure in the Chilterns, West Midlands, North West, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria. Accounting for 24% of the country’s railway network, LNW employs 7,300 people.

Known as the ‘Backbone of Britain,’ LNW includes the West Coast main line, the busiest mixed-use (passenger and freight) railway in Europe and the economic spine connecting Britain’s main cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

In its funding package for the five years to 2024, Government has given LNW £5.7bn for its vital operations, maintenance and renewals activities supporting the region’s business vision of “one team delivering brilliant service for customers and taxpayers.”

Martin Frobisher, managing director for LNW, said: “Demand is growing faster on LNW than any Network Rail region. In the five years to 2024, passenger demand is forecast to rise by 12% (2% a year) with freight demand set to increase 18% (3% a year).

“LNW is the Backbone of Britain. We connect workers with jobs, families with loved ones and goods with markets. Over the next five years our primary focus is delivering brilliant service for the growing numbers of customers who rely on us.”

He added: “Our £5.7bn funding for core activities is a huge vote of confidence in LNW. It is also a big responsibility. We start this five-year funding period with a better plan than ever before. Together as an industry, we will deliver for customers and taxpayers.”

Significant activities in LNW’s 2019-to-2024 plan include:

  • Continued joint working with train companies to improve reliability of services in the North
  • £2.7bn of railway renewals – replacing track, bridges, points, embankments and structures
  • Major resignalling and track remodelling at Crewe on the West Coast main line
  • Work to develop the Midlands Rail Hub to increase capacity for passenger and freight trains
  • Supporting the safe and successful delivery of HS2, Britain’s new high-speed railway
  • Supporting the delivery of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
  • Upgrading the signalling system for the Birmingham area
  • Construction of East West Rail Phase 2 – Bicester to Bedford
  • The introduction of new train fleets to improve capacity and reliability
  • Securing more than £300m of external funding for railway and station upgrades

Network Rail’s chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Passengers and freight users are at the heart of our plans over the next five years. Performance has been nowhere near good enough and public trust in our industry has declined. This must change.

“Our role is to deliver a railway that people can rely on, with trains that turn up and arrive at their destination on time, and where passengers have confidence they are in safe hands. This is what we must deliver daily and what we will, and should, be held to account for throughout CP6.

“Our plans for the next five years bring us much closer to train operating companies and local decision makers, they cut red tape and make it easier for others to work with us, and most importantly they put a real focus on the users of the railway.”

Rail Minister Andrew Jones said: “We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our rail network in over a century, spending a record £48 billion on the network’s infrastructure in England and Wales between 2019 and 2024, including funding for vital enhancements.

“By improving trains, tracks and stations right across the country, we will deliver more reliable, frequent and comfortable journeys for passengers and better connect our communities.”

In a further change, Andrew Haines – who has been in post since last summer – recently announced a new organisational structure, further devolving the railway network from eight geographic routes to 13, organised into five regions.

The London North Western region will be divided into north and south routes and will develop a strong partnership with the train operating companies in their area.

Notes to editors

*£5.7bn at 2018/19 prices subject to inflationary movement in future years.

**CP6 – five-year control period number six, 2019 to 2024.