Network Rail has today published final plans to put passengers at the heart of an investment of more than £2 billion across the Wessex route – covering all services out of London Waterloo station and freight services out of the Port of Southampton - over the next five years.

This will improve performance across one of the busiest parts of the country’s railway network, and represents 20% more money than the route’s previous five-year budget.

Funding will be focussed on operating, maintaining and renewing existing infrastructure, providing passengers with safer, more reliable journeys. This includes renewing old bridges, signal equipment and railway tracks – more than 200 miles of old tracks will be replaced, twice the distance between London Waterloo and Bournemouth stations.

The investment will also see the creation of new frontline teams to help better maintain the railway, monitor infrastructure and respond to incidents.

Andy Thomas, managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“This investment is great news for communities across our route – one of the busiest parts of the railway network with 212 million passenger journeys a year.

“Working closely with our train and freight operating companies, I am confident our plan sets out a course of action that will put passengers and rail users first and improve performance as quickly as possible.”

Andy Mellors, managing director for South Western Railway, said:

“We know that service punctuality is the number one priority for our customers when they travel so this significant investment in Network Rail infrastructure – including tracks, signalling and points – is very welcome news.

“Reliable, well-maintained infrastructure is a key enabler to be able to run our trains on time, which is what our customers rightly expect.

“We will continue to work closely with Network Rail to ensure we put our customers at the heart of everything we do.”

This money will be spent between 2019 and 2024 (Control Period 6) to fund the Wessex route. It represents an increase of more than 20% on our previous five-year budget (Control Period 5).

These plans have been worked up from a local level, in collaboration with businesses and organisations from across the route.

The Wessex route delivery plan for 2019-2024 can be viewed here