RAIL bosses have announced billions of pounds of investment to increase capacity.
In its strategic business plan for 2014 to 2019, Network Rail has proposed investing £1 billion in new infrastructure, and another £3 billion on operating, renewing and maintaining existing infrastructure on the London North East (LNE) Route from London to Scotland through Yorkshire.
The plan also claims to reduce operating costs by 18 per cent, cutting its annual public subsidy to between £2.6 billion and £2.9 billion in 2019, down from £4.5 billion in 2009 and £7 billion in 2004.
York’s new Route Operating Centre (ROC), which is expected to employ 475 people and be completed in March, will be central to an overhaul of signalling on the LNE route.
As part of a £2.1 billion renewal of existing track and signalling, new technology will be introduced, enabling 238 control points, such as level crossings, to be controlled from York.
The plan also involves reducing the number of jobs across the entire route by 906 as operations are centralised, though York will benefit through jobs being relocated to the city.
Phil Verster, route managing director for LNE, said new technologies were enabling it to cut labour costs.
He said: “Although passenger numbers are increasing and the railways are becoming more busy, at the same time we are delivering everything we have in this plan at a reduced cost, reducing the cost of running the railways and at the same time making it more efficient and cost-effective.
“It’s about new technology and new technology often is more cost-effective than old technology.”
The plan also includes spending £179 million on the electrification of transPennine routes, as well as electrifying the line between Selby and Micklefield to join up with the East Coast Mainline.
A further £240 million is to be spent on addressing key bottlenecks on the East Coast Mainline, and a further £10 million on improvements at Harrogate Station.
Network Rail said the plan would enable Britain’s railways to carry 355,000 more trains, transporting 225 million more passengers per year. It has been submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation for approval.