Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Railtrack Cost Increase Forces East Coast Main Line Review [February 2001]

The press release issued by the Strategic Rail Authority on 14 February 2001.

Railtrack Cost Increase Forces East Coast Main Line Review

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) has been informed by Railtrack of an increase in its cost estimates for the long-planned upgrade of the East Coast Main Line.  This line, on which the main inter-city express franchise (currently held by GNER until April 24, 2003) is up for replacement, has come to suffer from severe capacity constraints as traffic has grown rapidly since privatisation.  Upgrading the ECML has been accepted by all parties as a priority for some time and Railtrack has had a substantial design team working on it for nearly three years.

Mike Grant, Chief Executive of the SRA said:

“We are examining with Railtrack the details of these cost increases which could range between 20% and, if specific provisions for contingencies are included, nearly 100%. We have been asked by the Deputy Prime Minister to advise him urgently of the reasons behind this rapid increase in costs.  Obviously, this new information must now generate a pause in the refranchising process for the East Coast Main Line while we review the contents and causes of this increase from Railtrack.   We have informed GNER and Virgin/Stagecoach.”