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Railhub Archive
2002-01-14 RFO-001
Railway Forum


Two cheers for the strategic plan

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Railway Forum

Two cheers for the strategic plan

14 January 2002
source Railway Forum
type Press release

Railway Forum says short term objectives now much clearer but the long term still remains uncertain

The Railway Forum welcomes the Strategic Rail Authority’s Strategic Plan issued today.
Particularly welcome is the list of objectives to be achieved in the short term. The
deadlines set mean that all those who work on, or use, the railway will see some real
improvements after a very difficult period.

However, it is still clear that many of the longer term issues such as safety, environment
growth and, most importantly, funding issues are not yet resolved. We are particularly
concerned that there is no business plan linking investment with increased capacity . With
record numbers of people and freight now using the railways again, it is vital that long term
capacity issues are addressed now. Also, it still remains unclear how £30 billion of private
borrowing is going to be underpinned by growth projections that will probably put no more
than £3 billion in the farebox by 2010.

Britain does not have the worst railways in Europe (if this were the case, why has the
Government not fought harder to include additional major British infrastructure projects in
the European Transport ‘Essen’ List, where they would be eligible for substantial
Community funding?). However, our railways will continue to fall short of expectations until
we have a long term plan in place.

Adrian Lyons, Director General of The Railway Forum, said today, “We think that Richard
Bowker has done a good job by reinvigorating the planning process that all but came to a
stop last year. There’s some good short term news in the Plan. But the real challenge
remains, as Richard Bowker acknowledges, to get the railways right in the long term. We
look forward to seeing how the SRA will build on this good start”

Notes to Editors:
1. Since the general election of last year, the Railway Forum under its Building The
Railway For The Future initiative has been pressing for more realistic growth
assessments over a 20 rather than 10 year timeframe and an investment package
that realistically matches the industry’s revenue expectations. Although the
Strategic Plan acknowledges these issues, it has not yet produced any substantive
2. The ‘Essen’ List is a list of major infrastructure projects aimed at eliminating
bottlenecks that are eligible for substantial EU funding. Originally agreed in 1994, it
included the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the original West Coast Main Line
upgrade. Since then, no new UK projects have been added.

- Ends -

Railhub Archive ::: 2002-01-14 RFO-001


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