Network Rail has announced proposal to spend £37.5bn to expand and improve Britain's railways over the next five years.

Under the proposals submitted by the firm, 170,000 extra commuter seats would be provided during peak hours by 2019.

The company plans to spend £600m in protecting tracks and bridges against floods and heat waves and adding 1,000 miles of new electrified lines.

In a statement by Network Rail's chief executive David Higgins, he said:

"As our railway gets busier the challenges get bigger and more complex. We have entered an era of trade-offs. Increasingly we have to balance the need to build more infrastructure, run trains on time and cut costs, and in many areas choices will need to be made."

Network Rail says it aims to reduce the cost of running Britain's railways by a further 18 per cent and cut the annual public subsidy to no more than £2.9bn by 2019. However, the plans assume that rail fares will keep rising by more than inflation every year to help pay for it.

The proposal comes days after rail fares for season ticket holders rose by an average of 4.2 per cent, while overall ticket prices increased by an average 3.9 per cent.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner