The new independent business unit for the Western route, launched in Swindon this week alongside the devolution of power to the routes elsewhere in Network Rail, has outlined its vision for the South West of England.

Plans for Network Rail Western include improving rail capacity, especially in Bristol, where there are predictions of 44% growth in rail passenger demand by the end of the decade.

Capacity can be increased through the creation of additional platforms and an integrated transport hub. Network Rail Western also aims to achieve 93% punctuality by the end of 2014.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail Western’s new route managing director, said: “The next decade is an exciting and challenging period with passengers on the Western route set to see great improvements. We have a big task ahead and devolution is a step in the right direction to enable us to achieve our performance and efficiency targets, whilst seizing the opportunities to drive local economy with these major investments.

“Infrastructure investment is a key economic driver and the rail industry is a growth sector that can be tapped into. Through devolution, we will become leaner, more responsive and stronger in our presence locally and this means we will be better placed to work with local stakeholders, including city councils and local enterprise partnerships, to share our expertise and gather strengths to explore growth opportunities and help local economy thrive.”

Network Rail Western will be spending around £400m by 2013 to operate, renew and enhance the 995 miles of railway in Western.

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment