£38bn rail revamp 'reset' over costs and delays

A £38 billion five-year government plan to overhaul Britain's railways is being "reset" because it is "costing more and taking longer", Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said.

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Network Rail failure puts vital improvements at risk

Network Rail today announced that its plans to improve Britain's rail system were unachievable, and now many major projects are on hold, or even cancelled.

ITV News correspondent Romilly Weeks reports:

  1. Chris Choi

Network Rail's biggest casualty will be 'passenger trust'

On today's disappointing statement on Network Rail, ITV News consumer editor Chris Choi said:

"Network Rail today refused my repeated interview requests. Its underestimate of costs and over-promise of modernisation has led today to its chairman stepping down.

"But the biggest casualty is likely to be passenger trust in railway promises - that seem as unreliable as too many of its services."


Network Rail's plans 'ambitious' but 'too optimistic'

Network Rail signed up to "highly ambitious" targets which "proved too optimistic", according to the Rail Delivery Group.

Michael Roberts, the director general of the group, which represents operators, said: "Britain’s railway is carrying record numbers of passengers and freight and in some places is virtually full to capacity, making continued investment crucial."

He added: "The majority of proposed enhancements will still go ahead, and it is important that the industry, government and regulator learn from this situation to ensure we do better in delivering the future improvements the railway needs.”

Rail electrification projects are risk of being delayed

Network Rail has admitted some railway improvement projects, which are part of a £38bn five-year plan, are at risk of being delayed due to "stretching targets".

According to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, projects that are being "paused" include:

  • The electrification of the Midland Mainline
  • Work on sections of transpennine electrification between Leeds and Manchester

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said "I recognise that these delays will cause disappointment for some passengers for which I can only apologise."

Network Rail executives will not get bonus for past year

Network Rail's executive directors will not be receiving a bonus for 2014/2015, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said.

It follows the infrastructure company's admission that it had been "overly optimistic" about completing a five-year, £38 billion rail improvement plan.

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne (centre) and his executive directors will not received a bonus this year. Credit: PA Wire

Their bonus entitlement had previously been reduced from a maximum of 160% of salary to 20% shortly after Mark Carne joined as chief executive last year.

Mr Carne has previously announced that he would forego this year’s bonus.


Network Rail were 'overly optimistic' about rail revamp

Network Rail has said it was "overly optimistic" about the capacity of the company to meet "highly ambitious" five-year rail improvement targets.

It follows the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin's announcement that a £38 billion plan which includes electrification work on the Midland mainline is being "reset" because it is "costing more and taking longer".

We were overly optimistic about the capacity of our company and our supplier base to step up several gears in order to achieve the plan, especially given the complexities of a network that is at full capacity much of the time.

On the big items like electrification and capital projects, it was always part of the regulatory process that the costs and programme would be revisited as projects became properly defined. Unfortunately when these reviews have occurred, the more detailed project costs have been higher than assumed at the earliest stages of definition. As a result, the total enhancement programme cost now exceeds the available five-year budget. Some projects are also delayed beyond the original dates.

– Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne

£38bn rail revamp 'reset' over costs and delays

Credit: PA

A £38 billion five-year Government plan with Network Rail to overhaul Britain's railways is being "reset" because it is "costing more and taking longer", Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs.

He said that electrification work is being "paused" on the Midland mainline and on the Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester.

Mr McLoughlin blamed Network Rail for the problems and told MPs none of the executive directors would get a bonus for the past year.

Network Rail chairman Richard Parry-Jones is to step down and will be replaced by London's Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy, Mr McLoughlin said.

Important aspects of Network Rail's investment programme are costing more and taking longer. Electrification is difficult. The UK supply chain for the complex signalling works needs to be stronger, construction rates have been slow.

It has taken longer to obtain planning consents from some local authorities than expected.

But that is no excuse - all of these problems could and should have been foreseen by Network Rail. So I want to inform the House of the action I am taking to reset this programme and get it back on track.

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
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