by Keri Allan
25 Oct 2021
The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is asking the UK government to publish an update of its Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP) urgently.
This is the list of railway improvements, estimated to cost approximately nine billion GBP (10.65bn euros | 12.39bn USD), that Network Rail is expected to deliver during Control Period 6 (CP6).
The RNEP previously contained roughly 60 enhancement projects including the Transpennine Route Upgrade and Heathrow Rail Link. Some of these have seen progress announcements, while others have not.
The Department for Transport (DfT) had pledged to update the RNEP annually, but it has now been two years since the last release.
The RIA says this delay has resulted in a minimum of one billion GBP (1.18bn euros | 1.37bn USD) being cut from the UK’s rail enhancements budget as it is now impossible to deliver the planned investments by the time CP6 ends in March 2024.
“It has been now two years – 730 days – since the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline was last updated. Rail businesses feel they are being kept in the dark on this, as they need certainty to plan and invest for the future, especially given the long-term and complex nature of railway infrastructure projects.
“If the Government wants the UK’s railways to help it build back better and greener, creating jobs and levelling up, it really does need to provide more visibility and certainty around rail enhancement schemes.
“This would also mean better value for the taxpayer, as schemes are delivered more cost-effectively when rail suppliers have the certainty they need to plan their teams and resources well in advance.
“We respectfully ask the latest version of the RNEP be published as quickly as possible.”
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