Investing in the railway - Transport Contents

1  Introduction

1. Over the next five years Network Rail will receive £38 billion to operate, maintain and improve the railway in England, Wales and Scotland. In announcing the spending in March 2014, the Secretary of State said it would "generate growth, create jobs and boost business while delivering faster journeys, greater comfort and better punctuality for passengers".[1] The funding settlement covers Network Rail's Control Period 5 (CP5)—1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019—and was developed through a complex and lengthy process: the Periodic Review 2013 (PR13).

2. This is a record amount of spending from the Government for the railways, and we launched this inquiry to consider the potential for this investment to transform connectivity across the country: increasing links between cities and helping to make jobs accessible, and improving links from ports and airports, for both passenger rail and freight. We considered the Government's strategy for rail, as set out in the 2012 High Level Output Specification. We assessed the criteria for the allocation of funding—mindful of concerns that rail investment has focused disproportionately on London and the South East. We also considered whether Network Rail has the capacity to deliver the major engineering works planned—an issue made timely by the disruption faced by passengers over the Christmas period, and at London Bridge station in the New Year. Questions about Network Rail's performance, and the way funding is allocated also brought in the role of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR)—which serves the dual function of economic and safety regulator for the railway network.[2] Requests for a Select Committee inquiry on these issues were made by members of the public and our stakeholders as part of our consultation on our work programme for the 2014-15 session of Parliament.[3] As we set out in our Future Programme Report, this inquiry has focused on the classic network building on our January 2013 Report, Rail 2020.[4] The performance of the classic rail network is critically important to the millions of people who rely on it every day to get to work and see family and friends: 1.59 billion passenger journeys were made in 2013-14, compared to 957 million in 2000/01, and 735 million in 1994/95.[5] Growth far outstripped the national average in places such as Leeds and Birmingham: highlighting the importance of connectivity between the classic network and high speed rail—both HS2 and a potential HS3.[6] We have considered how this connectivity—a key recommendation from our December 2013 report High Speed Rail: On Track—will be developed in the next five years.[7]

3. We launched this inquiry in June 2014. We received some 70 pieces of written evidence, and held six oral evidence sessions (all those who gave evidence are listed at the end of the Report). We would like to thank all of those who contributed to our inquiry, and particularly our specialist advisers, Bob Linnard and Richard Goldson.[8]

1   Department for Transport, "Plans for £38 billion investment in railways unveiled", 31 March 2014, accessed 15 January 2015 Back

2   Our full terms of reference are available at  Back

3   Transport Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2013-14, Future Programme 2014, HC 1143, para 2 Back

4   Transport Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2013-14, Future Programme 2014, HC 1143, para 2, Transport Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2012-13, Rail 2020, HC 329-I Back

5   Office of Rail Regulation, Passenger journeys by year - Table 12.5, accessed 13 January 2015 Back

6   pteg (IRW0036) para 2.2 Back

7   Transport Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2013-14, High speed rail: on track?, HC 851, para 32 Back

8   Bob Linnard was appointed as a Specialist Adviser on matters relating to rail on 11 March 2011. He has declared the following interests: non-executive director of Passenger Focus; and advisory work for Steer Davis and Gleave on work for BAA. Richard Goldson was appointed as a Specialist Adviser on matters relating to rail on 26 April 2011. He has declared the following interests: Trustee of the RPS; Chair of RPMI Ltd; some small private shareholdings in some transport related companies; and a consultancy contract with Oxera. Back

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Prepared 23 January 2015