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Landmark coming together sees rail companies launch plan for a changing railway to secure almost £85bn benefit to economy and enable further investment and improvement

In a landmark coming together, passenger and freight train companies, Network Rail and their suppliers today, as one railway working in partnership, launched a ‘single plan’ for Britain’s railway.

  • Landmark coming together sees train companies, Network Rail and suppliers launch ‘In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity’, a single, long-term plan for a changing and improving railway;
  • The plan sets out how Britain’s public and private ‘partnership railway’ will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country and enable further improvements;
  • It is supported by business and passenger groups and makes four commitments for change to improve and deliver for the economy, customers, communities and our people;
  • The plan will launch a new drive to show customers and communities locally how the railway is changing in their area.

The plan, ‘In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity’, is backed by business and passenger groups, and sets out how Britain’s ‘partnership railway’ of the public and private sectors will secure almost £85bn of extra economic benefits to the country and enable further improvements. The Great North Rail Project, a team effort to transform train travel in the north of England by Network Rail, Northern, TransPennine Express, Transport for the North and DfT, is a key part of the rail industry’s plan, which also sets out four commitments to build on the railway’s progress of the last 20 years.

These include a commitment to boost local communities through investment including 6,400 extra services across the country. This will mean space for 40,000 extra people in to Manchester and other cities across the north by 2022. With forecasts by the Centre for Economics and Business Research indicating a 14,400 boost to jobs in Manchester by 2022, the extra capacity will be vital to connecting more people to more employment opportunities.

The four commitments being made by the nation's rail companies together are:

  • Commitment 1 - Strengthen the railway’s contribution to the economy, keeping running costs in the black, freeing up taxpayers’ money;
  • Commitment 2 - Increase customer satisfaction by improving the railway to remain the top-rated major railway in Europe;
  • Commitment 3 - Boost local communities through localised decision making and investment;
  • Commitment 4 – Create more jobs, increase diversity and provide our employees with rewarding careers.

Securing the economic benefits of the public and private partnership will mean that:

  • In the next 18 months alone, customers and communities across the country will see a transformation in their railway with more trains, better services and improved stations;
  • Investment into rail of over £50bn will help to deliver 5,700 new carriages on track by 2021 and 6,400 additional services per week;
  • Customer journeys will be improved using technology to increase capacity by running trains closer together, to improve information to help passengers during disruption, and to make buying and using tickets quicker and easier;
  • Improved services and greater confidence for customers with the introduction of a new Independent Railway Ombudsman, by Summer 2018, ruling on unresolved complaints;
  • A stronger voice for customers in England and Wales with customer representation on joint supervisory boards, or an equivalent – a partnership between the rail industry and customer groups;
  • Our staff in the railway will benefit with 100,000 job opportunities, £1bn investment in our team, the creation of 20,000 new apprenticeships in rail and its supply chain by 2020 and doubling the number of higher level apprenticeships every five years.

In addition to publishing ‘In Partnership for Britain's Prosperity’, over the coming months, rail companies will be launching local activity to demonstrate changes for customers, businesses, communities and their people locally, and continuing to engage with local stakeholders about the future of the railway in their area.

Speaking at the launch of In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which brings together train operators and Network Rail to enable a better railway, will say:

“Today is a landmark coming together. This plan, delivered by a changing partnership railway, will secure the economic benefits from current investment by the public and private sectors, and enable further improvement and investment.

“That’s why today, we are making four commitments for change to safeguard our economic contribution whilst delivering the best deal for taxpayers, to improve services for customers, better connect local communities and secure more jobs in rail. This plan will deliver the railway that the economy, customers and communities need as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.”

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern added: “The railway is key to Manchester’s long-term prosperity.  As our industry comes together with a single plan to drive change, we are investing to improve what matters most to our customers and the regional economy.

“We will deliver more capacity, improved services, faster journeys and a better customer experience that will better connect northerners with jobs, social and leisure opportunities.”

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Over the next 18 months passengers and communities across the country will see a transformation in the services that they receive. Thousands of new trains will be introduced as the culmination of years of heavy investment in improving our railway comes to fruition, stimulating the economy by delivering new job and housing opportunities.

“Network Rail's transformation is bringing track and train more closely together for the benefit of passengers. This plan will accelerate change and deliver further investment and improvements bringing more improvements for passengers, communities and businesses across Britain now and in the long term.”