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SRA seeks more government cash for rail

THE STRATEGIC Rail Authority has this week set out an 18 month ten-point plan aimed at securing greater government investment in the railways.

'The Value of Rail: Route Map to 2004' maps out the task ahead of the SRA as it puts together its bid for government money in the 2004 spending review.

'We will need more government support if we are to sustain the growth and investment we need, ' said SRA chief executive Richard Bowker, speaking at the rail finance summit.

'For this we will develop a robust case for further investment, one that demonstrates that we have our house in order in terms of cost control and performance.'

Bowker's announcement came immediately after transport secretary Alastair Darling had bluntly outlined the government's current view.

'There may be substantial amounts available to invest but we'll spend it prudently. We've got a fixed budget and we intend to get the most we can from it, ' said Darling.

'So there needs to be a firm control of costs and everyone in the industry must get a lot tougher about it.'

The Route Map focuses on ten work streams. A review of current major projects is already underway and the results will be fed into a updated strategic plan in January 2003.

Similarly, studies into fares policy and capacity utilisation will report in the new year. The new fares policy, likely to charge passengers more to travel at busy times and on busy routes, will come into effect from January 2004.

INFOPLUS www. /rail

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