Network Rail upgrade delayed by government
25 June 2015
From the section Business
The government says it will delay or cut back a number of modernisation projects planned for Network Rail.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says rising costs and missed targets make the £38.5bn plan untenable.
Network Rail’s chief executive told the BBC that the plan, which was launched in April last year as the “largest modernisation of the railways since Victorian times”, was too ambitious.
Mr McLoughlin also said Network Rail’s chairman would leave the group.
Richard Parry-Jones will leave after his three-year term at Network Rail, which controls 2,500 stations as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings.
He will be replaced by Sir Peter Hendy, the current commissioner of Transport for London.
The projects at most risk of being delayed are the electrification of the Great Western Railway to Swansea, as well as the electrification of the Midland Mainline.
The chief executive of Network Rail, Mark Carne, told the BBC the challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects – such as the electrification of the Great Western line to South Wales, improved punctuality for millions of passengers and the renewal of hundreds of miles of track – while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming.
“Over the last year, it has become obvious that the challenges of operating, maintaining and enhancing the railway are significant,” he said.
“I think it’s time to level with the public and say that some of these extraordinary projects that we absolutely need are going to take longer and are going to cost more than we originally thought.
“We are going to take the summer to re-evaluate the extension of the programme – we need to do that properly with the Department for Transport and, of course, looking at the impact on trains as well.”
He said it would not be possible to estimate the impact of the delays on the final cost.
Mr Carne said it was important to be honest with the travelling public: “Rather than beating ourselves up over some rather arbitrary target, I think we should level with people and reset …read more
Source:: BBC UK