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CSR 2010: Network Rail 'not complacent' as McNulty report looms

Despite all of its major schemes being secured in the Comprehensive Spending Review, Network Rail has said that it is not complacent as it awaits the outcome of the McNulty value for money study.

The rail infrastructure operator will receive £14bn in funding for maintenance and upgrade works but it anticipates that Sir Roy McNulty’s study will have a bigger impact.

“The Comprehensive Spending Review itself is unlikely to impact on Network Rail’s five-year funding settlement for control period 4 (2009-2014) – this would be complex and unlikely to deliver savings over and above the 22% efficiencies that Network Rail is expected to achieve by 2014.

“However, for the rail industry as a whole there will be changes. If rolling stock orders are cancelled or delayed, Network Rail has indicated that it will delay or postpone related infrastructure projects such as platform lengthening and the construction of depots.

“In the context of major capital infrastructure projects being secured in the CSR, Network Rail is not complacent. Whilst grateful for sustained capital investment it recognises it must show willing to work ever more closely with its customers and funders in cutting the cost of rail.”

An interim version of Sir Roy McNulty’s “Value for money study” was given to transport secretary Philip Hammond to inform the CSR while a full report is expected in March/April 2011.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Network Rail is pleased that the government has recognised the need for sustained investment in infrastructure for a rail network that continues to attract more passengers. Investment in infrastructure is vital to the UK economy. At a time when the government’s top priorities are reducing the deficit and driving economic growth, we should be trying to focus investment decisions on how to grow the economy and how to deliver the best value for money.

“Our focus now, as we await the findings of the McNulty value for money review of the railway, is to work ever more closely with our customers to deliver a high performing, growing railway that gets maximum value for the British people.”