Network Rail’s Wales and Borders route puts passengers and freight at the heart of a new five-year plan for the railway: Network Rail Wales generic2

Friday 19 May 2023

Network Rail’s Wales and Borders route puts passengers and freight at the heart of a new five-year plan for the railway

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western

Network Rail today published its £5.2bn, five-year plan (2024-29, Control Period 7 - CP7) for the railway in Wales and Western, that sees £1.9bn investment in the Wales and Borders route, that will focus on tackling climate change, improving train performance from current levels, investing in things that matter most to passengers and freight users, and making our ‘green’ railway, even greener. 

In December the Department for Transport (DfT) published two key documents. One set out what it wanted our railway to deliver (High Level Output Statement – HLOS) and the other, how much funding it was making available (Statement of Funds Available – SoFA). Over the last two years, and more intensively over the past three months, Network Rail has been working on plans to deliver the best railway it can for the amount of money available - £44.1bn nationally for the next five-year period (2024-2029). 

Funding for enhancements is not included in this funding settlement, with enhancements progressed by Government via the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. 

Sitting below the national overview is a more detailed plan to deliver a greater railway for the Wales and Western region, which includes the Wales and Borders route. 

The plan for Wales route:

Is focused on our customers: by planning to deliver a more punctual and reliable railway than today and improving passenger and freight customer experience:

  • Recognising the need to improve performance over the remainder of CP6 and giving passengers and freight users the highest level of train performance possible in CP7
  • Improve our timetabling, enhance our operations capability and work closely with our industry partners to deliver train service performance 
  • Enhancing traffic management, incident management and driver advisory systems so our signallers can drive better, safer performance 
  • Undertaking critical renewals, including extending the life of signalling equipment in West Wales, renewing pumps for the Severn Tunnel, cable replacement in the Shrewsbury area, lift renewals and rewiring at Cardiff Central station, rewiring at Cardiff Canton depot, canopy and platform works at Chester, Shrewsbury and Newport, footbridge refurbishment at Bangor, Newport and Neath, making our track more reliable in the Cardiff area, and completing level crossing renewals on the Heart of Wales line 
  • More than doubling investment – to £73m for the Wales and Western region - in tackling climate change and making our railway more resilient and sustainable. This includes investment in earthworks and drainage renewals, and improvements to our capability such as the creation of dedicated earthworks and drainage teams, operational weather expertise, climate change adaptation strategy investment and continued investment in the Weather Risk Taskforce 
  • Our plans also include investment in the reduction of emissions and targeted net-zero initiatives, focusing on meeting Government objectives for biodiversity, air quality and waste. 
  • Focusing on value for money by making every penny count and targeting efficiencies of £482m across the Wales and Western region over the period

Supports all who use the railway: by continuing to put passenger, public and workforce safety at the heart of our plans:

  • Investing in technology and innovation such as installing equipment on trains which monitors infrastructure condition remotely without needlessly sending employees onto the track
  • Improving our network’s resilience so we respond safely to extreme and unpredictable weather and make our assets more resilient
  • Deepening our safety learning culture, including establishing a “safe by design” mindset so we provide a safe workplace and tools 

Supports economic growth and connectivity: our plans include investment in technology and research and development, and will facilitate the introduction of major projects including preparing for HS2 and other targeted investment across the country, along with:   

  • Supporting the continued growth of rail freight through an ambitious but realistic target of 6.9% growth across the Wales and Western region 
  • Working with stakeholders to deliver local priorities like metro style services in north, west and south west Wales 
  • Laying the foundations for GBR that will be key to the railway becoming more efficient through reuniting track and train. A reformed railway will see this settlement go further by enabling a simpler, better railway for everyone. 

Network Rail’s chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “As we look to the next five years, the Government’s commitment to invest £44 billion in the operations, maintenance and renewal of England and Wales’s railway is a clear indication of the strong economic value rail brings to Britain. 

“Our plan for CP7 is ambitious, focussed on our passengers and customers and reflects the current complexities and challenges facing the industry. There will no doubt be obstacles ahead and I look forward to working collaboratively with the sector to deliver this plan, reshape the industry and build a railway that is fit for the future.” 

Network Rail’s Wales and Western managing director Michelle Handforth said: “We are undertaking significant work over the next five years to provide a greater railway for the Wales and Western region.  

“We are creating and operating a lifeline railway for the communities we serve, are a catalyst for socioeconomic growth, and are working hard to decarbonise so that we’re the greenest way to travel and do business.  

“We are striving to fulfil our purpose with an innovative mindset, challenging ourselves to continuously improve, to deliver a better, safer and more cost-effective business.” 

Network Rail’s funding is made available from governments over five-year periods, known as control periods, with control period 7 (CP7) starting on 1 April 2024 and running until 2029. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) will now review this initial strategic business plan and review how it measures up against the Government’s HLOS and SoFA and publish its draft determination on this plan later this year including targets, measures and incentives it will hold Network Rail to deliver over CP7.  

Notes to Editors

  • Summaries of the national, and each region’s and function’s CP7 strategic business plan can be downloaded at here. 
  • The plans set out how money will be spent on operations, maintenance and renewals and total just over £44 billion for England and Wales. Scotland’s plan will be published shortly. 
  • Capital projects – enhancements – are funded separately on a case-by-case basis and no longer form part of Network Rail’s five-year settlement.  
  • The CP7 funding package for England and Wales includes electricity costs for traction which are passed straight through to operators, and which were £2.6bn in CP6 and are £4.1bn for CP7. 

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Wales route
0771 094 0248

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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