Network Rail investment pays dividends

Posted on 05 Aug 2019 and read 650 times
Network Rail investment pays dividendsNetwork Rail recently published its annual report and accounts for the 12 months to 31 March 2019 — a year that saw almost 3,000 new services a week added to the network, providing much-needed capacity and extra seats as investment in Britain’s infrastructure hit a record high.

It (www.networkrail.co.uk) said that millions of passengers and freight users will benefit from this £7 billion targeted investment, aimed at expanding the railway infrastructure in preparation for over 6,000 new weekly services that will be introduced gradually over the next few years.

Network Rail said examples of investment include: the rebuilding of London Bridge station; new stations opened at Meridian Water, Maghull North and Newton-le-Willows; a huge increase in “services, carriages and seats” on Thameslink routes with the completion of a multi-billion-pound project; new electrified routes and services between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Walsall and Rugeley, Stirling and Alloa, and on the Grangemouth branch; longer platforms plus new services at London Waterloo (including the re-opening of the London Waterloo International platforms for domestic use); and the remodelling of Liverpool Lime Street and Derby stations.

Andrew Haines, chief executive, said: “Passengers and freight users are now starting to see and feel the benefit of years of investmentin the nation’s railway infrastructure, as thousands of new services and new trains join the network. Lessons have been learned from last year’s painful experience of bringing new services on-stream.

"The industry worked closely together on the smooth introduction of the December 2018 and May 2019 timetables,
introducing thousands of new weekly services, and we will continue to work with our train operator colleagues to further improve connectivity for passengers.”

The financial highlights for 2018-2019 include: record levels of investment, up 6.2% from the previous year to £7 billion (almost five-times greater than 1998/9); and revenue increased to £6.7 billion (from £6.6 billion).

The loss (before tax) of £173 million (£48 million profit the previous year) was expected and planned for; it was the result of the design of the fixed regulatory settlement for 2014-2019, increased train-performance penalty payments, increased maintenance spending and increased depreciation and financing costs.

The net debt of £54.1 billion was up from £51.3 billion, owing to increased borrowing to fund investment.

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