Network Rail today launched its network-wide route utilisation strategy of route forecasts.
The plan looks at how long-term demand for passenger and freight services across the network could be affected by a range of different scenarios facing the country.
Director of planning and regulation at Network Rail, Paul Plummer, said: “Over the last decade, more and more people have been choosing to travel or move goods by rail. Performance and reliability have risen dramatically, and so it is important that we continue investing in rail to expand the network with more seats, more services and better journeys.
“To plan effectively for the future, it is vital that we look in detail at what the future may hold for the railway so that the decisions we make now help develop a rail network that is fit for the future. I thank those who made a valuable contribution in the formation of this strategy as part of the consultation process. This will provide an important input to our planning for 2014 and beyond,” he said.
The RUS sets out four possible future scenarios which should be considered for long-term planning so that decision makers can help shape their policies in the face of uncertainty. These scenarios are made up of reasonably predictable measures such as population growth as well as more unpredictable factors including economic development, international trade, social trends and energy prices.
30-year predictions for passenger and freight demand varies from 28% on the London to Hampshire and Dorset corridor to 95% on the cross-country corridor.
Demand for container freight ranges from 60% and 310% depending on which economic and population projections and scenarios are applied. These growth rates could be increased further by factors such as additional investment in the railways and service improvements.