Biggest rail investment since Victorian era

Network Rail will commit to continue the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era.
Network Rail will commit to continue the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Network Rail has launched its plan to maintain and improve railway infrastructure from 2014 - 2019. It's the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era, and Network Rail believe it'll reduce costs, as well as deliver more passengers on time than ever before.

Four railway routes in the Anglia region will benefit.

Four railway routes in the Anglia region will benefit
Four railway routes in the Anglia region will benefit Credit: Genkaku

Anglia Route: lines out of Liverpool Street including Great Eastern main line

There are several big developments on this line. The completion of the overhead line upgrade on the Great Eastern main line, track renewal and new signalling is a major component of the 2014 - 2019 plans, as is finishing the Crossrail service from Shenfield to Liverpool Street. That development will lead to:

  • More seats and direct services to Thames Valley, central London and Heathrow Airport
  • New crossrail station at Liverpool Street will free up platform space, enabling opportunities for more services on the Great Eastern main line

In addition Network Rail are committed to examining how to improve journey times on the line.

Commuters across our region will see improvements to infrastructure
Commuters across our region will see improvements to infrastructure Credit: Winchild

Midland main line (St Pancras to Bedford)

Today commuters have to settle for a diesel railway with an ageing infrastructure, by 2020 they'll get to travel on one of the most modern electric railways in Europe. The overhead lines will be built using the latest technology for reliability and efficiency, whilst signalling will be controlled from Network Rail's state of the art control centre in Derby.

  • £60m could be saved every year once the line is electrified from Bedford to Sheffield. This will also reduce carbon emissions by 13,000 tonnes annually.
  • Thameslink: By 2018, there will be up to 24 services through centralLondon as part of Thameslink, the majority of which will be 12-car trains. The Thameslink programme will also provide passengers from Cambridge with new trains and more destinations.
West coast main line will see infrastructure improvements
West coast main line will see infrastructure improvements Credit: Martin Keene/PA Wire/Press Association Images

West Coast main line

From next year services from Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central will be reintroduced. The railway line between Oxford and Bedford via Bicester Town and Bletchley will also be electrified. But the plans are wrapped with a wanring. From 2024 the West Coast main line - as Britain's busiest and most economically vital rail artery - will be full with no more space to accommodate the expected growth in demand. Network Rail believe HS2 would solve the capacity crunch set to face passengers and businesses on the line.

An East Coast main line train pulls out of Peterborough Train Station
An East Coast main line train pulls out of Peterborough Train Station Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/Press Association Images

East Coast main line (King's Cross to Peterborough)

By next year passengers can expect trains to be less packed. A new passenger line and platforms at Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace will reduce congestion as trains near King's Cross, whilst a flyover at Hitchin will carry trains from London to Cambridge over the main line, relieving a key bottleneck. What's more new platforms planned for Peterborough should increase capacity and reduce congestion there.

From 2014 new trains through the Intercity Express Programme will provide more seats, and £240m will be invested in key pinch points on the East Coast main line including Peterborough.