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Network Rail reveals third-party pipeline

Network Rail has published a comprehensive list of major development opportunities available for third parties to fund, finance or deliver.

The pipeline covers all aspects of rail upgrades that have been deemed open to third parties including station refurbishments, new routes, electrifications, signalling and capacity improvements.

The projects cover all eight route areas including Scotland and Wales, with 13 of these schemes valued at more than £100m.

Network Rail noted that the projects were “a list of potential opportunities for third parties and inclusion in this list does not necessarily represent a commitment to deliver a project”.

Details of the schemes to be taken forward will be confirmed as the Control Period 6 settlement is finalised, with a Network Rail spokeswoman adding that the client “will be looking to update the pipeline of opportunities on a regular basis”.

Known as CP6, the five-year investment period is due to run from April 2019 to March 2024.

Projects in excess of £100m include a major refurbishment of Leeds station, replacing the roof on London Victoria, creating overtaking capability on the Great Eastern Main Line, service improvements in Ely, a whole-line upgrade on the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne railway, and improvements to the Cumbrian coast railway.

Oxford station is also included in the plans valued at more than £100m, as is a refurbishment of platforms at London Paddington.

Other stations featured in the pipeline of works include University station in Birmingham, Snow Hill, Perth, Cardiff Central, Barnes, Walton-on-Thames, Swindon and Exeter St David’s.

Alongside passenger and rail improvements, Network Rail has highlighted 11 freight projects that are also available for third-party investment.

Publication of the third-party pipeline comes a day after the new Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said he was “open” to the option of selling stations to private companies in certain circumstances.

Mr Haines said: “I have a very pragmatic view of these things, I want to see more money invested in the railway and I want us to use it wisely.

“If we can find partners that will allow us to bring additional finance into the railway without jeopardising [its] operational integrity, I will be very keen to explore that. It has to be value for money and it has to work for both parties.”

A number of schemes have also been promoted by local authorities including new stations in Leeds, Thorpe Park, Elland, Harrogate and Parkway Leeds, which has been backed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Many of the project are in the early stages of development and will either be confirmed in CP6 or have third parties come on to further develop schemes during the control period.

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