UK rail network to get £9bn makeover

Stat of the day: £9bn. The government has announced plans for the biggest overhaul of the UK railway network 'since the Victorian era'.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Transport Secretary Justine Greening will reveal the details of the investment later today, but we do know that the government plans to splash about £9.4bn on the project, and that works will take place between 2014 and 2019.

Areas of the rail network that will receive a much-needed overhaul include: the Midland Main Line, which will be fitted with new electrified rails; Thameslink; and the cross-London Crossrail. There are also plans to undertake a large-scale refurbishment of some of the UK's more dilapidated rail stations, as well as re-introducing miles of rail track that have been out of service.

Some £5.2bn has been earmarked for the completion of current schemes, with £4.2bn set aside for new projects. 'In what is the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era, this investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world-class rail network,' gushed PM David Cameron today.

However, while the UK rail network is indubitably in need of the revamp, MT can already hear the rumblings of dissent. Greening has admitted that, with government coffers low on cash, 'for the time being, passengers are paying'. The Campaign for Better Transport responded: 'Whilst we welcome more investment in rail, massive fares increases shouldn't be used to pay for it.'

Alas, as per, ordinary people will pay the price for a lack of ongoing infrastructure investment. Expect a raft of price hikes on travel cards and Oyster fares over the next two years...

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