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Network Rail invests for capacity explosion

Network Rail is planning to expand track capacity to accommodate an explosion in passenger traffic, a senior Network Rail executive told delegates at last week’s NCE Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award summit.

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Extra tracks: There are plans for a major increase in rail network capacity

Network Rail is aiming to accommodate an extra 180,000 seats on peak time services. Network Rail managing director of infrastructure projects Simon Kirby said upgrade works were taking place across the country. He also said he expected some of the expansion to be funded by private investors.

“We anticipate capital coming into rail infrastructure soon,” he said, pointing out that the sheer volume of projects scheduled will make projects more attractive to investors.

“In terms of growth, there are more train journeys now in the UK than ever before, and the projection is that these will grow.”

Around 1.3bn train journeys are currently made annually, representing much of the reason for Kirby and his team wanting to “add more capacity on critical routes”.

At present major projects are underway on the Thameslink route, at Birmingham New Street, and Edinburgh Waverley.

There is also upcoming work at Manchester Victoria.

Network Rail is also carrying out the biggest electrification of lines for 30 years, including parts of the Great Western main line.

The organisation is also in the process of building 14 new operation centres to administer its new train control systems, which will be phased in over the next 15 to 20 years.

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