Network Rail Announces Growth Plans in Wales

Rail projects in Wales are set to gain from investment, with Network Rail, a company that operates the UK’s railway network, having committed one of the largest rail investments for development of the Welsh railway infrastructure.

The new investment is intended to help the Welsh railway system to carry more passengers and to improve the network’s reliability and time keeping.

Mark Langman, the Network Rail route managing director for Wales, said, ‘This is an exciting time for the railway. We are now carrying a record number of people on record numbers of trains at record levels of reliability. We are also operating a more efficient railway, with the level of public subsidy almost halved from its peak in 2006.

The Wales Route network has a long and proud history, but inherent in its past lie many of the challenges of the future. The plans we have set out will deliver the biggest investment in the Welsh rail network since the Victorian era. Much of our infrastructure still dates from that period and this investment will help bring the network into the 21st century.

Wales relies on rail and our plans outlined in the Strategic Business Plan will deliver a real improvement to passengers with the potential for quicker and more frequent journeys on a network that is more resilient and reliable. Better links to London and improved commuting opportunities around Wales, including to the new enterprise zones, will also help drive economic growth across the country.’

Passenger numbers in Wales have increased considerably in the last 10 years, putting stress on the existing rail infrastructure. The new investment plans to reduce the pressure on the existing rail network, for a better and faster service.

Network Rail Announces Performance Update

Network Rail, a company that operates the UK’s railway network, has reported on the railway companies’ performance for the period October 14, 2012, to November 10, 2012.

The rail company has reported an avearge punctuality of 88.9 percent during the period, compared to 89.3 percent for the same period last year. The moving annual average is now at 91.7 percent.

The measure of train punctuality is known as the PPM (public performance measure), which refers to trains arriving at their destinations within five minutes of scheduled time for commuter services, and within 10 minutes of their scheduled time for long distance services. Train punctuality, at national level, is measured for all trains of the network, and is inclusive of cancelled services and delays.

c2c, a train operator that is owned by National express, and which operates the London, Tilbury and Southend franchise, has reported the best punctuality in this period, with a figure of 98.4 percent.

In the six month ended September 30, 2012, Network Rail reported revenue of £3,167m, compared to £2,997m for the same period last year.

Patrick Butcher, Network Rail’s group finance director, said, ‘The railway continues to see strong traffic growth which provides us with the challenge of getting the balance right between capacity, reliability and efficiency. We have seen growth on the network of 5 percent a year for a decade, and this is set to continue. That means we continue to become more efficient so we can continue to invest to meet this growth.

This, combined with the traffic growth, allows us to sustain high levels of capital investment, delivering £2.1bn worth of capital work in the six months.

Network Rail continues to evolve. Last year we completed devolving authority to all ten of our routes and now we can make progress to moving to a group structure that reflects this. We have already set up our infrastructure projects division as a standalone business unit, launched Network Rail Consulting as our international business and we have plans to run our energy, telecoms and recycling operations each with their own profit and loss account. We believe this will generate greater efficiencies and unlock greater value to the business.’

Network Rail Announces Construction of Kings Cross Square in London

Network Rail, a company that operates the railway network in the UK, has commenced the transformation of the historic frontage of King’s Cross station in London into a public space, to be called King’s Cross Square.

The company has commenced the removal of a canopy in front of the Victorian station façade, and the facade will then be deconstructed to create the new square, which has been designed by London-based architects, Stanton Williams. King’s Cross Square is expected to open to the public in 2013.

Matt Tolan, the programme manager for Network Rail at King’s Cross, said, ‘We’re finally removing a building that’s almost universally unloved, restoring the station to its full architectural glory and creating a modern station fit for the future that gives passengers and the local community a huge new space to enjoy.

With the completion of the final phase of King’s Cross station’s redevelopment, we aim to bring a bit of the grandness and old-world charm of Europe’s city-centre railway stations right to the heart of 21st century London.’

The company opened a new glass and steel western concourse in March this year, offering three times more space for passengers than the old concourse, with enhanced connectivity to the London Underground network and St Pancras International station.

David Partridge, the spokesperson for King’s Cross Business Partnership, said, ‘King’s Cross is a rapidly evolving place and is fast becoming one of the most exciting destinations in the city. Over the last 10 years almost £2.5bn has been spent on the transport infrastructure in King’s Cross and St Pancras, creating the best interchange in the UK with unrivalled accessibility.

The removal of this canopy together with the creation of the new square will be another vital part of the new public realm opening up this area of London.’

Crossrail Announces Replacement of Railway Bridges

Network Rail, on behalf of Crossrail, a major new railway that is under construction in the South East England, and which will link Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to Essex and Kent, via Greater London, has commenced the restoration of four bridges in Slough and Hillingdon, in readiness for the new electric train service.

The Crossrail railway link is currently being constructed across central London, and is expected to open in 2018, operating up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel, during peak hours of service.

The new electric trains are intended to provide a faster, cleaner, smoother and more dependable train service than existing diesel suburban trains. However all bridges on the route must be cleared for the installation of over-head electric equipment. Middlegreen Road Bridge and Trenches Bridge in Slough, and Old Stockley Road Bridge and Horton Bridge in Hillingdon, will be renovated as part of the upgrade.

Network Rail will carry out the bridge replacement project on behalf of Crossrail, with a proposed completion date Easter 2013.

Jorge Mendonca, the Crossrail programme director for Network Rail, said, ‘Crossrail will transform the journeys of passengers who wish to travel into or across central London. The work we are undertaking on bridges across the western section of the route will not only enable new longer Crossrail trains to operate but is also an essential part of the programme to electrify the Great Western main line.

During Christmas and Easter we will be removing the old bridges and installing new ones. We’ve spent months preparing for this to ensure we complete the work with the least possible impact on residents.’

Crossrail will also include a major development at Paddington. The 320,000 sq ft development is located at the intersection of Bishop’s Bridge Road and the Grand Union Canal, and will include 15 storeys of office space, as well as retail outlets.

The building will provide access to Crossrail, National Rail and Hammersmith & City line services at Paddington.


Network Rail Announces New Traffic Management System in Britain

Network Rail, a company that operates the railway network in the UK, will be developing a new traffic management system for the entire rail network across the country.

The new automated system will be able to control large parts of the network from a number of control points, allowing for better capability and performance across the entire network. The system will include real-time planning, resolution of conflicts, and the reprogramming of areas of control, all through a single operational information system.

The network’s new traffic management system will consolidate around 800 signal boxes into 14 modern rail operating centres, and will be lowering the costs of maintenance by GBP250m per year, as well as claiming to offer an accurate and timely service across the UK.

The new traffic management project is being designed by Hitachi Rail Europe, Signalling Solutions, and Thales UK, and should be rolled out in 2014. The edsign prototype is also likely to be in place by 2013.

Robin Gisby, the managing director of network operations, Network Rail, said, ‘As the number of people and businesses relying on rail continues to grow, it is vital we have the technology to make the best use of Britain’s rail infrastructure. Working with our suppliers, our focus is on developing a system which meets the needs of Network Rail, our customers and passengers, helping deliver a leaner, more efficient and reliable railway.’

The project will also finalise and train a working group of signallers and other operating staff to adapt to the new design.

Virgin Trains Offers Changes in Scheduled Services for Network Rail Improvement Work

Virgin Trains has announced changes in its scheduled services due to improvement work to be carried out by Network Rail, the UK-based company that owns and operates most of the rail infrastructure in Great Britain.

The schedules for Friday, May 4, 2012, to Bank Holiday Monday, May 7, 2012, are being implemented due to improvement work on the lines, while Virgin Trains will be operating at its full capability on Friday and Bank Holiday Monday afternoon and evening.

On the upcoming Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the holiday weekend, work will be carried on various segments between Euston and Rugby; Crewe and Liverpool Lime Street; and Crewe and Glasgow/Edinburgh.

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, there will be no train services between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe. Passengers travelling from Liverpool to Euston are requested to travel via Chester, Manchester Piccadilly, or Stockport. On Sunday, May 6, 2012, scheduled improvement work will be taking place between Rugby and Euston. At several congestion points, the company is offering replacement coaches that will connect passengers to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

On Bank Holiday Monday, May 7, 2012, work will be taking place between Crewe and Runcorn, Crewe and Warrington, and between Carlisle and Glasgow/Edinburgh, with work scheduled to be complete at 09:45 hours.

The company is offering alternative services for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, for the routes affected, and will be aiming to offer scheduled services during peak hours during the beginning and end of the holiday weekend.