Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Strategic Rail Authority Comments on Railtrack Funding [April 2001]

The press release issued by the Strategic Rail Authority on 2 April 2001.

Welcoming the Government’s Railtrack funding announcement, Sir Alastair Morton said this morning,

“Today we make an early delivery of three important items in our Strategic Agenda, and each opens the way for further delivery. The three are:-

  1. Enhancements are no longer forced to wait until Railtrack finds money and management for them. CTRL Phase 2, the East Coast Main Line upgrade and the East London Line can all move forward. But when completed they can be integrated with Railtrack’s network operation and may be acquired by Railtrack, with all the project risks behind them. A healthy Railtrack will be able to grow into a major national utility if it gets its act together, starting with its core business of operating, maintaining and renewing the existing network.
  2. New passenger franchises promise years of major investment to improve services and are reshaping the network. Stagecoach had to stretch to stave off a very competitive challenge from a new joint venture between First Group and Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch State Railways). The passenger will benefit from the competition.

    The Waterloo to Exeter service, moved into the new Wessex franchise, will be doubled as part of a widespread upgrade of rail services in England south of Birmingham and west of London.

  3. The SRA’s longer term vision for London is based on national rail network routes under the capital, developed in co-operation with Transport for London (TfL). Thameslink 2000 will now be accompanied by the connection between Croydon and Dalston via the East London Line. Later, we hope to launch an East-West route evolved from Crossrail and a new route from near Clapham Junction to Hackney and beyond.

    Quite soon, the SRA intends to approve, with TfL, a sort out of the North London Line to move freight more efficiently while offering more capacity to passenger operators in preparation for a new Orbirail franchise, whose core will be the network from Willesden to Dalston to Docklands, around South London, to Clapham and back to Willesden in the North West of London.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight on rail. Operators and Railtrack have a huge task to develop safe and efficient operation but, as numbers and tonnes moving continue to increase, strategically planned investment becomes more and more essential. Government participation in these investments, via the SRA, will be the key to making them happen”.