Tuesday 3 Apr 2007


Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
A £2.4bn programme of rail expansion was unveiled by Network Rail today as it outlined its spending plans over the next two years with more than £150m being spent in the Anglia region. Hundreds of platforms will be lengthened, new platforms added, new tracks laid, line speeds raised and capacity added through major resignalling schemes.

Unveiling the plans, Network Rail's Chief Executive, John Armitt, said: "The railway is thriving. Demand for rail continues to grow and today's news outlines Network Rail's response to those demands. "Three million people use the railways each day, more than at any time in the past 60 years, and we're not standing still waiting for the big infrastructure projects to be delivered. We are doing something about it now by moving forward with hundreds of small schemes dotted around the country that will add capacity and ease crowding. "For the first time on record, over £1bn per year will be spent on expanding and growing the railway network. This, more than anything, shows how the needs of today's railway are shifting. We will never lose sight of the imperative to run a safe and reliable railway each and every day, but responding to the challenge of growth becomes a more important priority for the company." Over the next two years Network Rail is more than doubling the average annual investment on enhancement schemes - over £1.2bn per year. Not since well before privatisation (British Rail did not record enhancement spending) has so much money been invested in expanding the capacity of the network. Over the past 12 years, annual average spending on such schemes has been around £500m. Between April 2007 and March 2009, Network Rail will carry out £2.44bn worth of enhancement work with £1.73bn funded by Network Rail. The remaining £713m will be financed by other stakeholders, such as the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland, Welsh Assembly Government, Passenger Transport Executives, local authorities, port authorities train operators and freight groups. Network Rail is working on over 900 individual schemes. Here are just some examples of the schemes in the Anglia region that will be delivered or will get underway over the next two years: (in alphabetical order): Figures in brackets are current Network Rail spend profile value over next 2yrs.
  • Colchester-Clacton re-signalling delivering more reliable journeys (£50.1m)
  • Grays - extension of bay platform summer 2008 - to permit longer trains on Tilbury Loop services (£2.9m)
  • Ipswich to Ely W10 Gauge clearance which will provide an alternate route for large freight containers (£4.7m)
  • Liverpool St to Chelmsford - Renewal and improvement to the overhead lines (£50.1m)
  • Marks Tey-Colchester bi-directional signalling - to facilitate improved performance and maintenance (£3m)
  • North London (Barking, Hampstead, Willesden) W10 gauge clearance - to provide a second cross-London route for big maritime containers (£15m)
  • Norwich - additional siding electrification to enable extra train service capacity to London in the peaks (£0.2m)
  • Stratford - lengthening of platform 10A and freight loop to enable more peak hours trains to call at Stratford and facilitate movement of freight through the Stratford area. (£1.5m)
  • Witham station second entrance (£0.78m)
Network Rail continues to take forward the massive infrastructure and enhancement projects that have yet to recieve full funding approval. The Thameslink upgrade programme remains a key priority with work also continuing on redevelopment plans for Birmingham New Street and Reading. Mr Armitt concluded: "We are taking action now to expand the rail network and help relieve crowding on the network. But we want to do even more and will be outlining in the autumn our longer term plans for even more growth and expansion on Britain's thriving railway."

Notes to editors

To deliver this raft of enhancement projects, Network Rail is creating a new senior management role - Director, Infrastructure Investment. This role will be filled by Simon Kirby the present Director Major Projects and Investment who joined Network Rail in July 2003. Simon spent 17 years with BAE systems and over the years worked on many big projects in senior positions.

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About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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