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CP5 railway investment: The benefits

UK rail network's Control Period 5 (CP5) is now well underway, having launched last month amid considerable interest in the wide ranging investment planned to take place. This funding will be fed into a number of areas and should lead towards significant improvements and continuing modernisation of the country's rail network. The results should benefit passengers, businesses, freight and the UK economy.

General Information

Control periods are being used to decide on investment priorities and timescales, with each control period lasting for five years, beginning on 1st April and ending on 31st March in line with the financial year.
Control Period 5 began this year on 1st April.

As railway development requires a long-term strategy, plans for the period were first made several years ago, though they have of course been revised where necessary as circumstances have changed and developed. It is intended to bring about some significant improvements in a number of areas, both technological and practical; affecting both the on-the-ground running of the rail network and the way it is operated behind the scenes.


Safety is one of the central considerations in operating a rail network and one of the areas in which the benefits are most obvious. Around 450 million is going to be invested in safety during the course of CP5.

One of the key safety improvements will be for workers at engineering sites. New technology will provide greatly improved safety for workers in the event of human error or other factors putting them in danger of approaching trains. New technology will give them a reliable advanced warning, even when they are required to move around large sites or wear ear protection that may make audible warnings difficult to hear. The goal is to completely eliminate fatalities on worksites.

Much more investment will go into a huge range of safety improvements that will benefit workers and passengers. These include major improvements to electrical safety and to the way worksites operate.

Renewals and Refurbishments

Several renewals have been moved forward into CP5 from later dates. There are various benefits to this. In many cases, the decision was reached because later improvements such as the electrification of track will make it easier to perform the work in CP5 than at the original dates planned. As such, completing the renewals beforehand will be faster, easier and more cost-effective..

Passengers will also benefit. The added difficulty associated with completing the renewals according to the original timescales would lead to considerably more disruption to services. As such, by completing the work in CP5, passengers will benefit from a smoother-running rail service with fewer disruptions.

Information Technology

330 million worth of extra investment is being added to initial plans for development of Network Rail's IT systems. The improvement and modernisation of the information technology systems in use by Network Rail will enable the full spectrum of their operations to run more efficiently and effectively. While their initial plans for CP5 investment focused on renewing and replacing systems in order to maintain current standards, the froward plans are now very much on improvement.

Projects will take advantage of technological improvements that were not previously anticipated, such as the increasing capabilities of mobile devices. It will also be poured into a range of entirely new initiatives, such as on-train metering. The result will be cost savings, faster and leaner processes and a better service offered to passengers and customers.

Research and Development

Investment in research and development has increased significantly over recent years, and this is planned to continue apace - an additional 150 million of investment is intended by the time CP5 ends,

Cooperation with the wider industry is also hoped to bring in further sources of R&D investment. The goal is for continued improvements to the engineering and technology in use across the UK's rail network, boosting performance at every level.

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