The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has written to Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, calling for changes so that the government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) for Control Period 6 (CP6) is published.
Today has been chosen for the publication of this letter because it is when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announces his Spring Statement, which is expected to include investment decisions for the rail sector.
The RIA and its members are concerned that, with the next five year funding period set to start – the largest ever investment in the industry – and more decisions to be outlined in the Spring Statement, the RNEP process “will reduce the rail industry’s ability to plan and deliver enhancement projects.”
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the RIA, said that the RNEP process is reducing visibility regarding the upcoming work required.
It is, he said, affecting planning and delivery of enhancement works more difficult, which in turn stifles investment and economic growth.
He said: “So we urge the government to publish as soon as possible, a full list of enhancement projects planned for CP6, as well as those projects planned as part of the Hendy Tail, which have been carried over from CP5. And we call for the full transparency going forward for this new Pipeline.”
The RIA’s letter says that changes to the decision-making process for rail infrastructure enhancements improvements to a new pipeline approach, whereby individual projects progress through different stages before coming to market.
However, there is a feeling that this will make it difficult for rail businesses to deliver, given they have “very little visibility” of any future government-funded CP6 enhancements pipeline, except the projects carried out in the previous funding period.
The industry is worried that this, and the pipeline situation, could lead to “an enhancement hiatus in CP6.”
A series of reasons have been given for greater visibility of the RNEP.