Tuesday 1 Nov 2005
RECORD INVESTMENT FOR THE EAST OF ENGLAND’S RAILWAY
- Region & Route:
** FEWER DELAYS MEAN MORE TRAINS NOW ARRIVING ON TIME **
Rail services in the East of England returned to normal this week with the successful completion of major engineering work on two key train routes in the region. Passengers travelling between Cambridge and London and between Norwich and Ely are now benefitting from a smoother, quieter and more reliable railway to get them to their destinations on time.
The £11million programme of track replacement undertaken last week was the final extended engineering closure on the railway in this part of the country this year, which brings the total spent by Network Rail on track improvement in the region to more than £30million in 2005.
Jon Wiseman, Network Rail Route Director, said: “This unprecedented investment in the East of England is evidence of Network Rail’s commitment to rebuild Britain’s railway. We have made excellent progress this year in addressing the legacy of under-investment in the railway network, bringing us ever closer to providing a world-class railway that people rightly expect.”
More than 28 miles of new track has been installed in the region this year alone and there is already evidence of improved reliability of train services. On the West Anglia main line (Liverpool Street to King’s Lynn via Cambridge) delays attributed to Network Rail have been reduced by nearly 30% when comparing the last six months to the same period last year .
Train services on the Great Eastern main line (Liverpool Street to Norwich) have suffered from more delays caused by infrastructure problems this year, but train punctuality is now showing a clear upward trend with the latest figures showing that around 9 out 10 trains are arriving at their destinations on time. 
Jon Wiseman continued: “I’m delighted with these improvements in performance, with fewer delays caused by Network Rail and a more punctual train service for passengers. Large scale engineering work is key to achieving this kind of progress and is essential to the future of the railway in the East of England.”
Major track improvement projects are traditionally planned around bank holiday or school holiday periods when research shows fewer people travel by train. The most efficient way of carrying out large scale engineering work is during extended railway closures of a week or more, where the alternative is to disrupt journeys at weekends for months on end.
On the other hand, smaller scale track maintenance and renewal work will continue to be carried out overnight when trains are not running, as well as at weekends when fewer people travel and alternative bus services can be more easily provided.
Tim Clarke, Managing Director of train operator ‘one’ added: "We're pleased that train performance is improving, with over 90% of trains regularly arriving on time on many of our routes (especially on commuter routes close to London and some rural routes). We also recognise the progress made by Network Rail in a number of areas. However, there is still more to do to deliver better performance across all our routes and on a more consistent basis. We will be working closely with Network Rail to achieve those aims."
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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