Great news for those operating in the rail industry! The ORR has now given the go-ahead for Network Rail to spend £31bn in England and Wales and £4bn in Scotland over the five-year Control Period 6 (CP6) starting from next April. Spending is essential in order to ensure that Britain’s railways are more reliable & focused on passenger requirements & business freight needs.
Approval of £24.3bn will be spent £7.7bn on maintenance and a further £16.6bn on renewing the existing railways. Renewal spend from CP5 to CP6 was increased by 17% in order to help reduce delays caused by infrastructure failures or track defects. With passenger numbers rapidly increasing a further £245m research and development fund is also available to help develop new technologies which improve performance and or drive efficiencies.
Over the next 5 years Network Rail will be sourcing goods and services on a more local basis as each of its eight geographic routes will have their own budget, delivery plans and scorecards in place. The remit of being able to buy goods and services locally rather than centrally offers better value for money, according to the ORR.
John Larkinson, Chief Executive, ORR said: “Today’s decisions mean that Network Rail, its routes and its system operator can now press forward with their plans to deliver a service which passengers and freight customers rightly demand and deserve.
“These plans are focused on improving performance for passengers and freight operators by getting the basics right – ensuring that the railway is properly maintained and renewed, and on improving the daily operation of the railway.
“There is no time to lose; Network Rail and, in particular, the routes and system operator must make sure they are ready to deliver from day one of the new control period. That is why we have and will continue to report on – and where necessary challenge – Network Rail’s readiness.”