Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne wants councils and local businesses to put their hands into their pockets to pay for new rail infrastructure. The rail boss believes there needs to be changes to the way rail upgrades are funded and that those who benefit from improved services - including rail operators - should stump up the cash.
The operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which receives grants from the Department for Transport, has been criticised over costly delays to £38bn plans to electrify the Transpennine and Midland main lines. Services are not expected to run on the new lines, which connect Manchester, Leeds and York , until 2022 - four years later than planned.
But as Network Rail unveils a new £320m train line between London Marylebone and Oxford, funding of which has partly come from local authorities hoping the outlay will be outweighed by increased passenger numbers, Carne has called upon beneficiaries of a rail revolution to pay towards the costs. "Where train operators or others benefit from the delivery of increased passenger numbers, then they should be prepared to put their hand in their pocket and help with the investment," he is expected to say on Monday (26 October).
Financing at Network Rail has been brought under the spotlight and was last week scrutinised by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee. The panel heard the cost of electrifying the Great Western line could balloon to £2.8bn - three times the original budget.