Five-year plan will entail replacing 7,000km of track

Network Rail has announced that it will spend £38bn upgrading the UK’s railway system over the next five years.

The plan, approved by the Office for Rail Regulation, comes into effect from today.

Network Rail will spend £13bn on projects to relieve overcrowding, uncork bottlenecks and increase capacity; a further £12bn will be spent on replacing and renewing older parts of the railway; and £13bn will be spent on day-to-day maintenance.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said “investing in world class infrastructure” was “a key part of this government’s long term economic plan”.

He added: “That is why we are putting record amounts of government funding into our railways over the next five years.

“That investment will generate growth, create jobs and boost business while delivering faster journeys, greater comfort and better punctuality for passengers across the UK.”

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Millions of passengers and freight users will benefit enormously from the plans we set out today to wisely spend and invest £38bn in transforming some of the busiest parts of our railway network.”

Projects in the plan include:

  • Renewing over 7,000km of track
  • Replacing 75 football pitches worth of station platforms (300,000m²)
  • Improving train punctuality to 92.5% across the country
  • Cutting the cost of running the British railway network by 20%
  • Investing in new technology and equipment that will deliver step-changes in productivity and efficiency