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More train delays ahead: Network Rail leak reveals services are 'only going to get worse' in next five years
18 April 2023, 16:37 | Updated: 18 April 2023, 16:38
A leaked report from Network Rail shows Brits can expect further train delays and cancellations in the next five years due to a shortfall in funding and rising costs.
During an internal presentation, which was intended for rail bosses and marked as "official sensitive commercial", it was revealed that a deficit in funding means Network Rail is unable to "operate, maintain and renew" its tracks, bridges and earthworks infrastructure.
According to the leaks from The Independent, the network has admitted to prioritising the short-term repair of larger infrastructure, rather than replacing it altogether due to a lack of funds.
This, it said privately, could increase blockages and will ultimately cost more long-term – effectively amounting to the network's "managed decline".
Additional info uncovered from the leak also shows the National Rail has cut down its £3bil "risk fund", which is used to finance repairs caused by emergencies such as severe weather. misery
The shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh has hit out at the government following the revelation, as she said: "Short-sighted decisions don’t lower costs – they harm our public finances in the long run, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.
"A lost decade of dismal Conservative failure has left the country with second-rate infrastructure, and broken rail services failing passengers."
The Department for Transport refused to comment specifically on the leak, however a spokesman said: "We have pledged a record £44.1 billion for Network Rail as part of our commitment to maintain vital infrastructure and run a safe and reliable railway."
Last autumn the UK had the highest train cancellation rates since 2014, with 4.5% of all trains between October and December being cancelled – yet rail fares went up by 5.9% last month.
The Office of Rail and Road said only 62.3% of trains arrived on time during the same period.