This conference focused on the next steps for UK rail infrastructure.
Delegates discussed the challenges for meeting the priorities set out in the Delivery Plan for CP6 - including plans to spend £42bn over the next five years on maintaining and renewing the railway - and assessed the level of support for the industry to deliver CP6 through the Rail Sector Deal - which puts forward the Government’s approach to the rail industry supply chain and boosting skills in the sector.
The agenda also looked at the future finance of rail infrastructure, with the ORR’s Network Rail Monitor report finding that Network Rail overspent against its internal budget in every year of CP5 and calling for a greater focus on efficiency planning and in the context of the Government’s Infrastructure Finance Review.
As the Delivery Plan includes commitments to putting passengers and freight users first sessions provided an opportunity to assess what more can be done to deliver improvements in capacity, reliability, and efficiency - with further discussion on developing an integrated passenger-focused rail network.
Further sessions considered how best to use significant rail projects - including HS2 - to spur wider network development across the UK, such as the development of the Midlands Rail Hub, as well as potential implications of Network Rail’s new operating model formed of 13 routes organised into five regions.
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