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Published on : Tuesday, July 5, 2016
More rail journeys happened last year than at any time in railway history, Network Rail’s annual report reveals today, enabling economic growth, job creation and housebuilding. The report details how the company is responding in terms of a greater focus on customers, an uncompromising focus on safety, a focus on economies and the delivery on time and budget of significant enhancements across the railway network.
A detailed assessment of performance across each of the company’s eight geographic routes is published for the first time and is at the heart of Network Rail’s move to greater devolution to the routes and closer working directly with our customers. This has lead to route scorecards, measuring performance at the local level, which have been drawn up in conjunction with the train operating companies, so that Network Rail can judge and measure itself on what customers want and experience.
The report highlights a year of strong progress for the Railway Upgrade Plan with delivery of some major infrastructure projects, which include:
The Royal opening of the rebuilt and expanded Birmingham New Street station
The brand new Borders Railway, which was opened by the Queen in September
An enhanced and redeveloped Manchester Victoria station
Good progress on the Cardiff Area signalling programme
New signalling in East Kent, allowing better timetabling and longer trains.
But the report is also clear that the year has seen some significant challenges for Network Rail, with some notable schemes costing more than envisaged, resulting in a comprehensive review of the company’s enhancement programme by Sir Peter Hendy, CBE, the company’s new chair. Network Rail is also now working to implement the recommendations of the Shaw Review which looked at the company’s future shape and financing.
The year also saw another increase in demand for the railway with passenger kilometres travelled rising to 64.4 billion kms, up by over two billion on the year before.Over the year, we invested a record £3.53bn in expanding and growing Britain’s rail network. The Railway Upgrade Plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain’s railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years – so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
longer, faster more frequent trains;
better, more reliable infrastructure; and
better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.
The annual report also identifies progress in developing the Digital Railway programme which aims to deliver increased capacity, safety and reliability through smart technology. And Network Rail’s property arm increased like for like sales by 3.6% through the year and is now looking at what commercial assets it might sell in order to raise money to invest in the upgrade of the network.