RAIL REGULATOR Tom Winsor last week ordered Network Rail to cut its five year spending projection by another £2bn to £22.7bn.
The demand comes in Winsor's final draft of his review of the rail operator's funding requirements to the end of 2009.
Ministers had failed to endorse the spending plans even though Winsor has repeatedly driven down Network Rail's projections by forcing it to find cost savings.
In March, Network Rail asked for £35bn to spend over the five year regulatory period.
This was cut to £24.5bn last month under pressure from the regulator.
Network Rail will respond formally next month in a final bid to get its budget increased.
This week it said it would look to find further cost savings without compromising the performance or safety of the railway.
The regulator will then produce a final report in December.
INFOPLUS www. nceplus.co.uk/magazine