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Railhub Archive
2013-01-08 NET-002
Network Rail


Network Rail sets out plans for a better railway in the south east of England

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Network Rail

Network Rail sets out plans for a better railway in the south east of England

8 January 2013
source Network Rail
type Press release

London & South East

Network Rail today committed to continuing the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era, reducing costs and delivering more passengers on time than ever before – but also warned that tough decisions need to be made if the industry is to meet these competing challenges.

Network Rail’s strategic business plans for the Kent and Sussex routes, which have been submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation, set out a number of proposals which will help drive the local, regional and national economy and help make Britain’s railway one of the most efficient in Europe.

Investment and improvements on both routes will contribute to Network Rail’s plan to enhance the capacity and capability of the railway in London and the south east and, working with all train operators on all routes into London, will aim to deliver 20% more seats during peak morning hours.

In numbers that means there will be 539,300 seats into London across all routes during peak morning hours in 2014 but by 2019 there will be an extra 115,000, bringing the total up to 654,300.

Nationally, one million more trains run every year than ten years ago and more passengers arrive on time than ever before. Alongside these ever increasing numbers, Network Rail's safety record is one of the best in Europe.

Across London and the south east, more trains make more journeys than ever before on the network, putting an ever increasing pressure on the infrastructure. In April 2004, Southeastern ran 45,653 services and in April 2012 it ran 51,358. First Capital Connect’s services increased from 25,284 over the same period to 28,758 and Southern’s services rose from 46,844 to 59,750.

The strategic business plans - one for each route - cover the period from 2014 to 2019 (known as control period 5 or CP5) and map out a programme of investment and projects designed to maintain and improve an ageing infrastructure while reducing the overall cost of running the rail network.

Passengers on both Kent and Sussex routes will benefit from two of the biggest improvement projects ever seen on the railway in Britain - which will also be the largest investment during CP5.

More than £6bn will be spent on the Thameslink programme - which includes the redevelopment of London Bridge station, the single most ambitious and challenging redevelopment of any station in Britain. It is one of the most technically demanding engineering projects ever undertaken on the railway - the station will be completely transformed while more than 50m passengers continue to use it every year.

The improvements will not just deliver a bigger and better station - it will improve the capacity and reliability of services across the south east of England. Up to 24 trains an hour will be able to travel through central London, linking Bedford, Luton Airport, Peterborough and Cambridge with East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton.

The Thameslink programme, together with Crossrail, will deliver huge benefits to passengers when they are opened in 2018 increasing capacity and frequency of services across London.

Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route managing director for the south east, has warned that despite the large investment which will deliver significant benefits to passengers by the end of 2019, there will have to be trade-offs to achieve them.

He said: “The number of passengers using the railway continues to grow year on year. As the railway gets busier, the number of challenges increase and it becomes more complex than ever to run a reliable and cost-effective railway. As a result, we have entered an era of trade-offs. Increasingly we have to balance the need to build more infrastructure, run trains on time and reduce costs, and in many areas across Kent and Sussex difficult choices will need to be made.

“Billions of pounds are being invested in the Thameslink programme which includes the redevelopment of London Bridge station, which will deliver significant benefits for passengers. This will transform the railway for passengers across Kent and Sussex but the interim period while the work is taking place to complete these projects will provide many tests for passengers as well as Network Rail and the train operators. This is an example of the trade-offs that have to be made.

“The huge growth in the demand for rail services since privatisation is set to continue. As the network becomes increasingly full, particularly in peak periods, the rail industry must be able to make balanced and evidence-based choices between providing increased capacity, improving punctuality and driving down costs. The end result will be a better railway for everyone which will encourage continued economic growth across Kent, Sussex and Surrey."

Kent route

The Kent route strategic business plan will help deliver a more reliable railway to cope with the continued increase in passengers using the railway. The number of people travelling by train across the Kent route has grown significantly in recent years. Southeastern, the main train operating company on the route, has recorded a 7.2% rise in the past three years with a predicted further growth in passenger numbers of 30% by 2022.

To cater for this continued growth, a programme of improvements will be carried out between 2014 and 2019 on the Kent route, including:

a train lengthening programme across the Kent suburban area* which will see operators take advantage of longer platforms being currently delivered by Network Rail
a traction power upgrade in the Kent suburban area to power longer trains
the east Kent resignalling project which will provide capacity enhancements through the Medway towns
the £26m relocation of Rochester Station which will see the station moved closer to the town centre as part of wider regeneration plans.
There will also be targeted work to improve reliability on sections of the line between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells; Ashford and Tonbridge; Dartford and London via Sidcup; Ashford and Hastings; and Ashford and Ramsgate.

Crossrail - which will run from Abbey Wood and Woolwich Arsenal to Maidenhead via central London as part of an east-to-west rail link across London - will link the Kent route with services to Canary Wharf and Heathrow airport, providing passengers with more journey options and quicker travelling times to key locations across London and the south east. As a new rail link, Crossrail will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10% across the city.

Sussex route

The Sussex route strategic business plan will help deliver a more reliable railway to cope with the continued increase in passengers using the railway in Sussex and parts of Surrey. The route is one of the main commuter routes in the south of England - passenger numbers have increased by around 40% in the last 10 years and are forecast to grow by a further 30% in the next 10 years.

To cater for this continued growth, a programme of improvements will be carried out between 2014 and 2019 on the Sussex route, including:

track and signalling upgrades across the route to cope with the increase in trains and passengers
a new £23m route operating centre at Three Bridges will become fully operational and provide a central signalling function for a large section of the railway across Kent and Sussex. As part of Network Rail’s modernisation of the country’s signalling system, it will contribute to saving £250m annually in signalling costs across the network
a power upgrade will take place to ensure longer trains, providing more capacity and more seats, can be used across the route
work to allow longer trains to operate north of Purley and on the west London line will be completed
Redhill station, a major interchange on the Brighton mainline, will have a new platform built to improve performance and allow for additional services to run
As part of the redevelopment of London Bridge station, Thameslink services which run through the centre of London will be diverted away from London Bridge between 2014 and 2017, running instead via Elephant and Castle. To prepare for this, £8m will be spent in the area to increase the resilience of the infrastructure to cope with the additional trains.

Both Kent and Sussex routes will invest in protecting critical infrastructure - such as embankment and cuttings stabilisation and drainage - to help minimise the level of disruption due to severe weather events and to mitigate against the effects of extreme weather, including flooding, on the railway.

In addition to improving the reliability of the infrastructure, work will continue to take place with train operators and stakeholders to identify opportunities for journey time reductions and timetable improvements to further improve services for passengers.

Further work will be carried out to reduce level crossing risk by seeking to close or divert level crossings wherever possible. There will also be an increase in engagement with level crossing users and line side neighbours to help reduce incidents of misuse.

Notes to editors

Network Rail’s five-year strategic business plan, covering the period from 2014 to 2019 (known as control period five, or CP5), maps out a programme of projects designed to maintain and improve an ageing infrastructure and schemes to reduce the cost of running the rail network. By 2019, the plan will deliver a railway that:

Moves 225m more passengers per year and carries 355,000 more trains – the highest numbers ever seen on Britain’s railways
Provides 20% extra morning peak seats into central London and 32% into large regional cities in England and Wales
Delivers a step change in connectivity between regional centres e.g. 700 more trains a day linking key northern cities and a ten minute reduction in journey time between Manchester and Leeds
Carries 30% more freight than today
Maintains record levels of performance, with expected PPM (public performance measure) of 92.5% by the end of CP5
Is future-proofing critical infrastructure such as 30,000 bridges, embankments and tunnels against the impact of changing weather patterns, including flooding
Has cut CO2 emissions per passenger by 37% – the equivalent of one million lorries off of our congested roads – and has hundreds of miles more electrified railway
Is the safest in Europe, reducing risk at level crossings by 8% in CP5
Continues to modernise antiquated signalling equipment as part of a plan to move away from over 800 signal boxes to 14 major operations centres, allowing us to run more trains closer together, safely and reliably
Is more efficient, reducing the cost of running Britain’s railways by a further 18% and cutting annual public subsidy to between £2.6bn and £2.9bn in 2019 – down from £4.5bn in 2009 and £7bn in 2004
*Stations which will benefit from platform lengthening across Kent include: New Cross, Blackheath, Eltham, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst, Dartford, Hither Green, Mottingham, Grove Park, New Eltham, Chelsfield, Knockholt, Dunton Green, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Plumstead, Erith, Slade Green, Gravesend.

Nationally the railway carries almost 50% more passengers than it did 10 years ago: 2002/03 - 976m passengers; 2011/12 - 1.46bn passengers.

The strategic business plan is a response to the government's announcement in the summer of 2012 outlining what they require the railway to deliver in 2014-2019.

Next steps include:

June 2013: ORR publishes its draft determination on Network Rail's strategic business plan and how much money it thinks Network Rail needs to deliver what's required in CP5

October 2013: ORR publishes its final determination

March 2014: Network Rail's CP5 delivery plan published

1 April 2014: CP5 starts

Contact information

Media Relations (London & South East)
020 3356 9166 / 9164
About Network Rail

Network Rail is the not for dividend owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations - the largest of which we also manage. We aim to provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use. www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk Twitter: @networkrailPR

Railhub Archive ::: 2013-01-08 NET-002


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