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Railtrack spending plans slammed

RAIL REGULATOR John Swift this week slammed Railtrack for lacking hard promises in its new Network Management Statement.

His attack came despite the document, published annually to detail Railtrack's spending plans for the next 10 years, being three times as thick as last year's and detailing a £17bn spend.

Swift immediately warned: 'The statement as it stands contains very few firm commitments to deliver significant improvements across the railway network.'

Swift said he would now be investigating Railtrack's commitment to improving performance, its plans to renew and develop the network and its commitments to freight. He added that he would ask train operators and railway funders whether the statement met their needs.

Railtrack chairman Sir Bob Horton described the statement as 'one of the most important documents the railway industry has seen for many years'. The £17bn investment will include £5.5bn on maintenance, £7.9bn on renewals and £3.1bn on enhancement projects. The largest tranche of investment will be £600M for the West Coast Main Line. The company will aim to cut the cost of maintenance by £250M a year over the next decade by spending more on renewals.

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