UK rail industry: Some positive news on £200m additional funding and major projects, but more to do.(Railway Industry Association)

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association said:

“It is positive news that today, on Budget Day, we can applaud the Treasury’s decision to allow Network Rail to allocate an additional  £200m to spend on renewals in CP5. This would not have happened if the rail sector had not made the case for funding the CP5 shortfall up to March 2019, and it will certainly go some way to helping deliver a better railway, which is not only good for the rail supply sector, but also the Government, the taxpayer and the travelling public.

“The Budget also included welcome news on major projects, including:

  •  £300 million for connecting Northern Powerhouse Rail with HS2 confirmed
  •  A commitment to work with TfL on the funding and financing of Crossrail 2
  •  Backing for East West Rail and the Cambridge – Oxford – Milton Keynes Growth Corridor
  • £30m to trial new solutions to improve digital connectivity on the Trans-Pennine
  •  A pledge to replace the 40 year rolling stock on the Tyne & Wear Metro
  • £84 million for fitting state-of-the-art in-cab digital signalling across a range of trains
  •  A consultation on commercial options to improve mobile communications for rail
    passengers and up to £35 million to enable trials
  •  A further £5 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund to digitally
    upgrade railways on the South East and East London Lines
  •  £1.75 billion Transforming Cities Fund to improve local transport connections

“All these projects are vital to ensuring we have a modern, efficient rail network with capacity to meet future demand.
“Of course, we are disappointed not to get the full £500m brought forward from CP6 and we continue to urge the Treasury to fully fund the remaining CP5 shortfall; but it is good that significant funds have been unlocked in the meantime. Longer-term, we look forward to working with Government, Network Rail and others to improve the funding mechanism for the rail system to avoid “boom and bust” at the beginning and end of Control Periods, which makes renewing the railways up to 30% more expensive, and ultimately threatens jobs and
investment and the ability of SMEs in the rail supply sector to survive.”