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Network Rail in £400M spend boost

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NETWORK RAIL this week said it would spend £400M on enhancing the railways over the next three years on top of the £2.3bn already allocated to be spent between 2005 and 2009.

Half the cash is from cost savings made over the last two years. It will be spent on medium-sized £20M to £30M schemes, said Network Rail chief executive John Armitt.

The other £200M will come from the Department for Transport's Network Rail Discretionary Fund (NRDF) and will go on 290 minor track renewal schemes.

This money must be spent within Network Rail's five year regulatory period that ends in 2009.

The £200M in savings came from beating effi ciency targets set by the Offi ce of Rail Regulation (ORR). These could be spent over a longer time period, said Network Rail chief executive John Armitt.

'We are not obligated to spend [this money] but obviously we will spend as quickly as we can get sensibly planned schemes in place, ' he explained.

Projects receiving the money had yet to be identifi ed, but would most likely be those that increase the capacity and robustness of the network, said Armitt.

He also confirmed that over the next three years Network Rail would increase spending to catch up with up with its ORR targets.

The rail operator has so far underspent by £1.5bn since its regulatory period began in 2004 (NCE 9 March).

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