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Network Rail 2014-2019 rail investment programme

13 October 2015

The Public Accounts Committee hold an evidence session on Network Rail 2014-2019 rail investment programme.


Wednesday 21 October 2015, Room tbc, Palace of Westminster

At 2.30pm

  • Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary, Department for Transport
  • Mark Carne, Chief Executive, Network Rail
  • Richard Price, Chief Executive, Office of Rail and Road

Purpose of the session

It follows the Government's decision to pause electrification work on the Midland Mainline and Transpennine rail route and prioritise the Great Western Main Line project.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, told the House of Commons in June that "important aspects of Network Rail's investment programme are costing more and taking longer", expressing concerns about Network Rail's ability to deliver its current five-year, £38 billion investment programme.

The National Audit Office has submitted a memorandum to provide a factual overview of the Department for Transport, Office of Rail and Road and Network Rail's roles in the planning and delivery of CP5  (Control Period 5, 2014-2019).

This PAC inquiry will draw on the NAO memorandum to examine the current difficulties in delivering the planned programme, to understand how rail investment is planned; how CP5 differs from the 2009-2014 investment programme and the implications of the decision to reclassify Network Rail as a public sector body, and how and when concerns were raised about CP5 and how the Government is responding.

Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said:

"Rail infrastructure is an area of considerable concern for the PAC.

In the last Parliament we examined a number of major rail projects sponsored by the Department for Transport, including HS2, Thameslink and Crossrail. We found the Department lacked a clear strategic plan for the rail network, and it was unclear how the Department makes decisions about which programmes to prioritise for investment.

Now at last we are able to look in detail at how Network Rail is spending its share of taxpayers' money. It's important to establish the facts about Network Rail's performance and assess the value for money. 

With huge investment planned and multi-billion pound contracts being signed, we need to make sure the taxpayer is getting a good deal on what is much-needed improvement works.

Planning and implementing large-scale rail projects is complex and expensive, and typically comes with the promise of significant economic and other benefits for the public. In particular, the Government has made clear its intentions to establish a 'Northern Powerhouse' as part of wider regional devolution.

The decision to pause electrification work on the Midland Mainline and Transpennine rail route, and prioritise the Great Western Main Line project, has clear implications for taxpayers and the PAC will be holding Network Rail and the Department for Transport to account."

Further information

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