Network Rail in Wales and Borders is set to benefit from a record £2billion to provide a safer and more reliable railway for passengers and freight customers.
It is the first time that the Wales and Borders funding plan has been developed by and for Network Rail Wales and Borders and represents a 28 per cent increase on the figure for the last five-year funding period (2014-2019).
The UK Government funding will be spent between 2019 and 2024 to maintain and renew the existing infrastructure, meaning fewer delays and improved reliability for the growing number of passengers.
It will support Transport for Wales’ significant investment of £5bn over 15 years, which will see passengers benefiting from new trains, improved stations and increased capacity across the network.
Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “This is fantastic news for Wales and Borders at a time when we are seeing unprecedented levels of investment in the railway. We’ve put passengers and our freight customers first in developing our five-year plan, which will make the railway safer and more reliable for the thousands of customers who use it every day.
“This record funding, together with the significant investment planned by our partners Transport for Wales, represents a truly once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform rail services for the people of Wales and Borders.”
James Price, chief executive officer, Transport for Wales, said: “We want the new rail service to lead to a significant improvement in people’s views and experiences of public transport in Wales and working closely with our partners is key to achieving this.
“We look forward to working with Network Rail to deliver the best possible service for customers, including importantly through increasing capacity and reliability.”
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “This UK Government investment in Network Rail’s Wales and Borders route will deliver significant improvements in rail infrastructure across Wales improving passenger journeys and the reliability of services. Together with the £5.7billion investment in GWR’s fleet of Intercity Express trains between London Paddington and South Wales and upgrades to North Wales railway lines, the UK Government is committed to providing faster, more reliable services for all Welsh passengers.”
The Wales and Borders route budget is set out in the Office of Rail and Road's (ORR) final determination. This confirms what Network Rail will spend to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway and is a result of regular engagement with stakeholders across the route.
Maintenance and renewal work to be carried out by Network Rail across the Wales and Borders rail network in the next five years includes:
- Renewing or refurbishing 398km of track
- Bridge renewals
- Earthworks to improve the resilience of the railway in extreme weather
- Signalling renewals, such as the Port Talbot resignalling scheme
- Renewing the iconic Grade II listed Barmouth viaduct
- Renewing the pumps at Sudbrook pumping station, which pumps water from the Severn Tunnel