Budget 2016: Crossrail 2 and Shaw's evolution not revolution

George Osborne has given the green light to Crossrail 2 today, announcing £80m of government funding. With a £60m contribution from Transport for London, the circa £33bn project can now make headway with further route development and exploration of funding options.

A new Crossrail 2 company will take shape with supply chain partners signed up as the scheme works towards the aim of submitting a hybrid bill in Parliament in 2019. last week the National Infrastructure Commission said the scheme may have to be scaled back or delivered in phases due to the high costs of the route which is substantially longer than the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) due to its branches planned for north and south west London

Nonetheless Crossrail 2 is seen as a key project for London's housing and transport growth. The project expected to be finished by 2033.

Nicola Shaw's report on the future financing and structure of Network Rail, published alongside the Budget today, sets out a series of recommendations largely based on gradual evolution of the organisation rather than any short term upheaval. It generally recommends more route based management structures, including a 'Route for the North'.  It doesn't call for larger privatisation as some had predicted.

Government has said it will respond to Shaw's report later in the year

The key recommnedations:

1. Place the needs of passengers and freight at the heart of rail infrastructure management

Train operators should drive this customer focus into Network Rail through scorecards and agreed action plans, recognising they are sharing use of the network with others and operating within a national (and international) system.

2. Focus on the customer through deeper route devolution, supported by independent regulation

Building on current Network Rail moves to devolving its routes, a step-change in the degree of autonomy of routes to deliver more flexibly and responsively for customers

3. Create a route for the North

A new route (network region) to be developed closely with Transport for the North and other integrated transport authorities and city regions as funding and delivery models evolve.

4. Clarify the government’s role in the railway and Network Rail

In particular, the roles of the Department for Transport should be considered and clarified. As the body responsible for transport in England and Wales, the DfT should also develop a visible longer-term strategy for rail travel

5. Plan the railway based on customer, passenger and freight needs

Enhancement planning should be generated from passenger and freight requirements. Routes should be given freedom to build up their plans based on these needs and wider economic and social objectives.

6: Explore new ways of paying for growth in passengers and freight

Further options for involving private sector finance – eg concessions, or involving suppliers in technological investment – should be explored to release government capital, encourage innovation, and speed up delivery of improvements.

7: Develop industry-wide plans to develop skills and improve diversity

The industry as a whole needs to support and grow the pool of skilled and talented people working in the railway better and encourage more diversity




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