Network Rail looks ahead to the next five years

The Anglia route runs some of the most important rail infrastructure in the UK. Network Rail services connect millions of people to city, town and country in a fast-growing region which is vital to the City of London, and a gateway to major UK ports and airports in London and the South East.

Between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2024 we will invest £2.2bn in running, maintaining and improving Anglia’s railway for passengers and freight users. A high performing railway is a key driver to economic growth, making the region a place where people want to live, work and invest. Our investment during this time, known as Control Period 6 (CP6), is critical to achieving this.

This additional investment will pose challenges to the route, with even greater capacity demands on the network. Anglia is expected to see a significant growth in passenger numbers and the complete replacement of Greater Anglia rolling stock. This means that the route will be stretched to improve performance, and we must deliver even more in CP6 to meet the same robust standards we do today.

The plan focuses on making improvements to what matters most to passengers and freight users, targeting punctuality and reliability and working much more closely with train operating companies.

Some of the key work in Anglia’s five-year delivery plan includes:

  • £950 million to maintain and operate our network;
  • £400 million to renew or refurbish nearly a quarter of our track;
  • £350 million to improve our signalling and level crossings, including major works in Clacton and Cambridge;
  • £250 million to renew or repair bridges, embankments, cuttings and structures, including refurbishing the roof at Liverpool Street;
  • £200 million to complete renewals of overhead line equipment on the southern end of the Great Eastern main line, and undertake similar works across the line out of Fenchurch Street.

We are building on a solid base of improvements delivered as part of CP5 which include:

  • £60.4m investment to transform the Felixstowe branch line by installing 1.4km track allowing the line to operate more effectively, giving the flexibility needed to run more freight trains as well as improve the reliability of existing passenger services
  • £170m investment in the Lee Valley Rail programme to increase capacity on the West Anglia Main line to allow two extra trains per hour in each direction to operate between Stratford and Meridian Water, reducing congestion and journey times for passengers.
  • The major improvements to the Great Eastern main line infrastructure and stations to support TfL Rail services which will eventually become the Elizabeth Line (formerly known as Crossrail) when the central tunnel section opens.
  • Completion of a £46m upgrade to the overhead wires on the Southend Victoria line and an increase in services across the region supported by new timetables.
  • Investment in the upgrade of the Wherry lines between Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft to transform the Victoria era signalling system to a more modern system, improving safety and operational efficiency.
  • A new station at Cambridge North, helping to support the growth of the region by encouraging new business to the area, as well as aid the expansion of the Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre.

These CP5 improvements, combined with efficiencies in our operation, delivering engineering work with better access and cost planning, as well as a much safer workforce is our focus, however, we know that despite many good days, train performance is not consistently good enough. We know we need to do more for our passengers and freight users, and we are determined to do better. An ageing asset base and deferral of renewals from CP5 also means an unprecedented level of renewals and refurbishments coming together in CP6 that will make the railway more reliable and reduce delays. This will require us to carefully balance the need to close the railway while we carry out these works to keep passengers moving.

We have joint plans in place with train and freight operating partners to enable us to build on our current day-to-day performance, looking at all aspects of how to prevent delays and respond more quickly to resolve them when they do occur.

We recently announced a £10m fund to improve punctuality for passengers. This is part of a campaign to address poor performance head on by identifying the most common causes of why trains are delayed and focusing on finding solutions.

The campaign identified eight of the most common causes that delay trains such as signal and track failures, trespass events as well as the time it takes to respond to incidents.

Staff were invited to submit suggestions on how we could improve our performance. Some of the suggestions which will be funded include: infrastructure improvements such as upgrading the switches and crossings at the Coppermill junction interchange near Tottenham that will make the train service more reliable with fewer speed restrictions; making the rails more resilient in hot weather to reduce the number of temporary speed restrictions and measures to reduce crime such as making it harder for people to trespass on the railway by improving fences and railings.

We are also committed to proactively working with stakeholders in the access planning process to inform how the plans are to be delivered in 2019-2024. Anglia route will also continue to build on our success in attracting and developing third-party funding for railway upgrades that will deliver passenger benefits. Success here relies on all stakeholders coming together and working collaboratively to deliver the transformation that the region needs.

Earlier this year, we announced changes to the organisational structure at Network Rail. Anglia will be one of 13 routes, which will be supported by five Network Rail regions and Anglia part of a new Eastern region. These changes will enable more local decision making, and enable us put a greater focus on improving train performance and putting passengers and customers first. As these changes bed in, each region will publish updated strategic plans, setting out how we will deliver for our stakeholders under the new structure.

It is an exciting time for the Anglia route. We have a clear vision for the future, and a winning team of 2,500 dedicated employees to. deliver a safe, high-performing railway with greater capacity and efficiency to power economic growth in Anglia and the wider UK.

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