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Winsor warns SRA in Trent Valley upgrade row

RAIL REGULATOR Tom Winsor this week warned the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) against funding a key West Coast Main Line upgrade project by raiding budgets for other work.

He said that the SRA would be breaking its obligations to run an economic and efficient railway if it funded the Trent Valley capacity enhancement scheme in this way. 'It is not up to the SRA to move money around, ' Winsor told NCE.

The SRA may prefer Network Rail to cut back on maintenance and renewals elsewhere on the network, but I will not stand for that.'

The warning is the latest development in the row between Winsor and the SRA over the funding of the Trent Valley project.

The SRA wants the project to go ahead next year, but Winsor has called for an 18 month delay to enable a more efficient programme to be developed.

'Instead of planning to best practice, the procurement process is inefficient and focuses only on outputs in the future, ' he said.

'The Rugby-Trent-Stafford project is only needed for freight growth so is not needed now. But the cash is there to complete the project with a saving of £640M if it is deferred, ' he said.

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