Wednesday 31 Mar 2004


Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
| Southern
Network Rail today unveiled its 2004 business plan, which highlights unprecedented investment and a clear plan for improving Britain’s railway. Over the next five years the company will spend some £26 billion to deliver a safe, reliable and value for money railway. The 2004 Business Plan is the first based on a fixed and certain level of income and gives the business stability and a clear direction. It sets out a detailed blueprint for improving performance and reducing costs through a huge programme of action and activity. It demonstrates how Network Rail will spend £14 million each day on operating, maintaining, renewing and enhancing the network to deliver the maximum benefit for Britain’s rail users. More than £1.72 billion has been allocated to Southern region’s railway over the next three years aiming to tackle the legacy of under investment and build on the improvements Network Rail has already made. Robin Gisby, Regional Director, said: “This plan demonstrates our commitment to deliver a better train service to the passenger through the enormous amount of activity and investment that will be pumped into the South’s ageing railway infrastructure over the next five years. With £1.72 billion being spent on the network over the next three years, our task must be to ensure that we get best value out of that investment and make every penny count in the delivery of a better, more reliable railway. - more - Business Plan– 2 “The plan will build upon substantial achievements of the past 18 months.  Train punctuality has improved significantly by some 13% on the Wessex area and 9% for Kent and Sussex compared to 2002/2003 figures. The building blocks are in place but much remains to be done. We recognise and relish the challenge ahead as we forge a new railway that is better able to cope with increasing demands placed upon it. “We are determined to succeed and with this unprecedented level of investment and activity, the professionalism and dedication of our people, then success is something we can look forward to as we build a better railway for our customers and the passenger.” Robin Gisby added: “We’re spending more because we’re doing more to put right the years of under investment that has left us with an ageing and fragile network.”             Over the next five years Network Rail will be undertaking a huge amount of work on the network, some of the highlights include:- ·        Facilitating the introduction of new trains onto the network by upgrading the power supply across Southern region and extending over 30 station platforms on behalf of the Strategic Rail Authority. ·        Relining the Strood and Higham tunnels in Kent. ·        An extensive programme of track renewals including Basingstoke, Guildford, Fareham, Totton, Salisbury, Woolwich to Charlton, Martin Mill to Walmer, Paddock Wood to Marden, Hastings and Bo Peep tunnels, Sutton to Wimbledon line, Whyteleafe South, Caterham, Kingswood, Tadworth and Carlshalton. ·        Resignalling schemes at Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Farnborough, Bognor Regis to Barnham and signalling improvements on the Medway Valley lines and at Horsham. ·        Electrical control room upgrades at Eastleigh, Raynes Park and Brighton. ·        Points renewals at a number of sites including Waterloo, Eastleigh, Ascot, Woking, Rochester, Bo Peep (Hastings), Earlswood Junction and Streatham Hill. - more - Business Plan– 3 ·        Depot plant renewal programme including Bournemouth and Fratton. ·        A number of structural renewals including the Crewkerne, Martello, Shakespeare and Abbotscliffe tunnels, Clapham Junction, Crayford, Hollingbourne, Brockley, Grosvenor River, Sutherland Square and London Road Brighton bridges. Robin Gisby added: “The benefits of all this work can only be achieved by our people and the successful integration of some 3,000 maintenance workers. Our people have risen to the challenge magnificently.  It is through their dedication and professionalism, their ideas and innovations, that the improvements made, and to come, have and will be delivered.” Mr Gisby concluded by saying:  “The 2004 Business Plan marks the next phase of Network Rail’s task to rebuild Britain’s railway.  It gives us certainty about the future, where we can look forward to sustained high-levels of investment and increase activity levels, that will lead to a more reliable, better railway for our customers and rail users.”

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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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