Rail investment report signals a more passenger-focussed railway

As the country faces a moment of generational change, the rail network is facing a turning point of its own. In recognising the need for change, we have been leading the calls for root and branch reform to deliver a more reliable, joined-up and accountable railway.

new trains

Reform for the sake of reform is not sufficient though – it must deliver material benefits for the passengers, communities and businesses that rely on rail

So while the independently chaired Williams Review presses ahead with deciding on the configuration of these proposed reforms, the rail industry is continuing to work together to bring passengers real benefits, now.

With 98% of the fares passengers pay being invested back into the railway, we remain steadfast in our commitment to shape our future around passengers and make their priorities, our priorities.

The 2020 investment report released by rail companies today is set to deliver on a series of commitments we made two years ago to change and improve the railway for passengers, communities, the economy and people working in rail. An estimated £20 billion will be invested in running and improving the railway next year, much of it on vital infrastructure like tracks and signalling.

Since 2017, we have introduced over 2,500 new and improved train carriages as part of our commitment to get 8,000 new carriages on the network by the mid-2020s - replacing half the fleet, new for old.

Through our investment report, we are demonstrating the progress on our commitments. Next year our passengers can expect to see over 1,000 extra, better train carriages arriving on their lines. That means air conditioning, more seats and better Wi-Fi to make journeys more comfortable and the time people spend on the train more productive.

We’re adding more trains are being added to the network, too. Passengers have already seen an increase of over 4,000 services running every week up and down the country since 2018.

New upgrades across the network will mean we are able to build on that in the coming year, adding another 1,000 extra services for our passengers over the coming year, part of 11,300 being added over eight years, an overall increase of almost 10 per cent since 2017.

Investment from the industry is also furthering our commitment to making the railway fairer for all. Funding for new and upgraded stations will deliver real improvements that all passengers will feel, but especially in terms of accessibility for disabled passengers, alongside a new app to help disabled people know what facilities to expect when they arrive for their journey.

Over the last 25 years the railway has again supported economic growth and shifting patterns in how people live and work. This investment plan will continue to deliver on the rail industry’s commitment to boost Britain’s economy.

Each extra train means a town, village or city better connected. A person able to get to a new job. A business linked to a new market. In many cases, much faster than ever before.

This investment will be felt in communities all across the country, not just in London. From the 180 new trains that will make space for 50,000 passengers in and out of Birmingham and £40 million refurbishment programme for trains in Wales, to revamped stations such as the brand new transport hub at Wolverhampton Interchange or the redeveloped Glasgow Queen Street.

The investment announced in our report matters because it is delivering a railway that is working together to drive lasting change for our customers, communities, the economy and our people. 

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