Following the release of its Strategic Business Plan, Network Rail has unveiled its aims for the different regions throughout the country.
The milestone determines the rail operator’s funding needs for the next five-year period between 2019 and 2024.
And Network Rail has set out plans in preparation for an increase in demand in what is described as the “backbone of Britain,” focusing on London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
This is a key focus for Network Rail’s London North Western (LNW) route’s business plan.
LNW is a crucial link because it connects the main cities in the country, with vital links to Scotland too. A successful, well-functioning, high capacity network on this route is vital because it is a gateway for businesses to move up and down the country easily.
The accessibility could see businesses locate further north, boosting regional economy – something which is encouraged with the likes of the Northern Powerhouse.
This plan has set out £5 billion in funding for operations, maintenance and asset renewal activities from 2019 to 2024.
With the demand for travel into the likes of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham expected to expand in the next 30 years, this funding will be imperative.
Indeed, is expected that further finance will be needed, and Network Rail envisage this will be developed on a case-by-case basis before funding from government is sought.
LNW Managing Director, Martin Frobisher, explained the need for this funding.
He said: “We connect commuters with jobs, products to market and people with loved ones.
“London North Western is the backbone of Britain and includes the West Coast Main Line, Europe’s busiest railway. We are essential to Britain’s future prosperity.
“By improving performance and preparing for increased future demand for rail travel, our 2019 to 2024 plan will help facilitate further economic growth across all the regions we serve.
“By moving our major cities closer together, notably with HS2 and the Great North Rail Project, we will continue to create new possibilities and new opportunities for the taxpayers and customers who pay our wages.”
Elsewhere, Network Rail set out plans for other regions including Anglia, the south east, Waterloo, amongst others, all of which will benefit from significant investment to ensure the country’s railways continue to be upgraded to keep up with demand.