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Big Changes

This page showcases the railway improvements happening across the country.

While together we continue to work hard to deliver big improvements today, we also recognise that the system is under strain. That’s why we want to go further, and together has submitted our Big Plan for bigger, once-in-a-generation changes to unlock greater improvement for the next 25 years. 

Investment Report 2020

For both the nation and the railway, 2020 is set to be a year of great significance. 

Our Investment Report 2020 benchmarks our progress against the commitments we made in 2017 to change and improve, and sets out how over the course of 2020, we are working together to deliver over 1,000 new train carriages and introduce over 1,000 extra services a week, supporting communities and boosting economic growth.

We are replacing half of the country's trains new for old

rail industry

Working together to change and improve

Putting things right

We are committed to improving punctuality and reliability but when things do go wrong, we’re sorry and we want everyone to get the compensation they’re entitled to...

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Investing in our people

Britain’s railway rests on the skills of its people. The rail industry is investing in the 240,000 people who work in rail, including more than 16,000 train drivers...

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Rail Ombudsman

The Ombudsman is part of the industry’s efforts to uphold the highest standards in its complaints process and increase customer satisfaction...

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Continually improving for customers

In 2020 the RDG will continue to work with the Department for Transport in a ground-breaking rail industry programme to help better understand the needs, expectations and frustrations of customers...

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Enhancing accessibility

We want everyone to benefit from the opportunities train travel opens up. Ensuring the rail network is accessible and easy to use is a key focus of improvements at stations and on trains across Britain...

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Improving diversity

Research shows that organisations with a diverse workforce better understand the people they serve, are more innovative and run more effectively...

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Innovating and harnessing technology

Network Rail, train operators and the supply chain will work together in 2020 to ensure new signalling systems and trains are digital or digital ready.

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A greener future

Britain’s rail system is one of the lowest carbon modes of transport. It continues to improve its carbon performance with emissions per passenger kilometre reducing by nearly 30% since 2005...

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Delivering a safe and secure railway

Everyone working in the railway is committed to a safer and more secure railway for passengers and our people.

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11,300 extra services a week by the mid 2020s

Major improvements on track

Across Britain train operators are working hand-in-hand with Network Rail to deliver transformative upgrades for passengers and the communities connected by rail.

Passengers are already experiencing the benefits of recent upgrades and new projects will bring further improvements in 2020 and beyond.

East Coast Upgrade

Network Rail is working with train operators to deliver £1.2 billion of investment that will create capacity for up to 10,000 extra seats a day on long-distance services, create faster journeys and increase reliability for passengers. The upgrade has already improved the power supply between London and Doncaster as well as other improvements to support the introduction of new Azuma trains. The project will also involve changes to the tracks on the approach to London King’s Cross station and a new platform at Stevenage.

Thameslink programme

The £7.2 billion Thameslink Programme, completed in 2019, transformed travel across London and the South East, providing new faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys for thousands of passengers.

  • 30% more capacity for trains into and through London Bridge
  • 115 new trains = 1140 new carriages

New stations at Blackfriars and London Bridge and extensive renovation of Farringdon

London Bridge Station

The award winning new £1 billion London Bridge station opened in 2018. The UK’s fourth busiest station can now serve 96 million passengers a year, with wider, longer platforms, and a new concourse bigger than the pitch at Wembley Stadium.

Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) includes modernisation and upgrades to key junctions and infrastructure:

  • 150 kilometres of new electrified railway including between Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • three redeveloped stations, Cumbernauld, Haymarket and Queen Street
  • 42-minute fastest journey time between Edinburgh and Glasgow, down from 51 minutes, and longer eight-car electric trains creating 30% more capacity
Great North Rail Project

The Great North Rail Project (GNRP) is delivering a multi-billion pound package of improvements for passengers across the north of England. By 2022 it will have enabled 2,000 extra services each week and allow 40,000 more passengers to travel across the region each day.

Liverpool City Region

Upgrades to Liverpool Lime Street, the Halton Curve project and a new station for Maghull North are a few of the vital schemes that formed part of a £340m railway investment on- track to finish by 2020.

Manchester to Preston electrification

Passengers can take advantage of greener and quieter journeys on a new high-speed section of track following upgrades and electrification on one of the North West’s busiest routes.

Platform extensions

Lengthening platforms allows passengers access to every carriage on the new longer trains being introduced by train operators. Throughout 2018 and 2019, Network Rail in partnership with TransPennine Express and Northern Rail are extending over 100 platforms at more than 70 stations in the north of England.

Great Western Electrification

Greener, faster, more reliable journeys have been delivered for passengers with electrification along the Great Western Mainline through Newbury, Bristol Parkway, Chippenham and into Cardiff from January 2020.

Midland Main Line upgrade

The rail industry is supporting the Government’s £1.5 billion upgrade of the Midland Main Line with brand new trains, extra services, station and infrastructure upgrades to add 50% more seats per hour during peak times. Electrification of the line to Corby will go live in 2020.

Meridian Water station

In June 2019, Meridian Water station opened, ready to serve the 10,000 homes which are being developed nearby. The new station is part of the Lee Valley Rail Programme, involving a £170 million investment to support job creation and local regeneration. From September 2019 a half hourly service to Stratford was introduced, to ensure rail plays its full part in this major development programme. Greater Anglia, which manages the station, is also replacing their entire fleet of trains, new for old.

The Elizabeth Line

Work continues on Europe’s largest infrastructure project, the Elizabeth Line, which will carry an estimated 200 million passengers every year when fully operational. The new line will transform rail transport in London and the south east, increasing central London rail capacity by 10%. In total, 1.5 million more people will be brought within a 45-minute commute of the existing major employment centres of the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, up from five million currently. Trains are planned to run through the full length of the line between late 2020 to early 2021.

East West Rail

The new route will be a world class rail link connecting Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, and communities in between. Throughout 2020, major work to allow trains to run between Bicester Village and Bedford will be carried out, with the first trains running on this section from the end of 2023. Work will include a new station at Winslow, building two new platforms at Bletchley, installing eight new bridges, 22 new foot bridges or subways, and changes to 97 railway crossings.

HS2: Connecting the country

HS2 is an integral part of tomorrow’s national rail network, crucial to ensuring there is capacity on the existing railway to run the extra trains that will be needed in the decades ahead.

The new line will fully integrate with the existing rail network and connect eight out of ten of Britiain’s largest cities, forming the backbone of the system. It will stimulate economic growth for decades to come by better connecting communities across the country, while directly creating 30,000 jobs during construction.


Delivering on our commitments

In 2017, the rail industry launched In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, the railway's plan to change and improve. The plan was underpinned by four commitments to secure a stronger economy, better customer journeys, boost local communities and deliver more rewarding jobs on the railway.

How do we fund running and improving the railway?

Running Britain’s railway and moving millions of people every day costs money. In 2017/18, £11.8 billion was invested in operating and running the railway. This includes buying equipment and materials to keep trains running and the track, bridges, embankments, signals and electrification systems in good condition, paying rail workers and buying fuel and power.

With 98p in every £1 fare going back into running the railway, income from passengers is crucial to underpinning taxpayer and private sector investment to improve the network.

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