Rail industry promises 6,400 new passenger trains a week by 2021 to address the railway's "capacity crunch"

Rebecca Smith
The Elizabeth Line becomes operational through central London next year
The Elizabeth Line becomes operational through central London next year (Source: Getty)

Britain's rail industry has announced plans to run 6,400 more passenger trains a week by 2021 as around £50bn gets plugged into the network to address a "capacity crunch".

Projected timetable improvements for the next four years show 1,283 more trains a day will run from Monday to Friday nationwide, according to analysis by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail.

Read more: Business leaders urge government to deliver Crossrail 2 for Brexit boost

That will be an increase of 11 per cent to address rising passenger numbers at a time when rail punctuality is low. Last year, 12.3 per cent of trains failed to reach their destinations on time, according to the Office of Rail and Road.

That was the worst performance since 2006-2007 when 11.9 per cent of trains ran late.

Specific improvements to come amid this prospective surge in rail services are commuter routes into and within London, as well as those on high-speed England to Scotland routes, which will notice an increase in the frequency of trains.

Timetable improvements will also come into place for passengers using the Edinburgh to Glasgow and TransPennine routes.

Paul Plummer, RDG chief executive, said:

Rail is an ever more vital public service, enabling jobs, housing and economic growth.

But there’s a capacity crunch affecting the railway, with journeys having doubled in 20 years and the number of trains increasing too.

That’s why we’re delivering billions of pounds of improvements and reversing decades of under-investment.

Plummer said the £50bn railway upgrade plan will help to tackle this, which includes work on the Thameslink programme, spending to complete the £14.8bn Crossrail project and £7.7bn on HS2 by April 2019.

He said of the investment: "It will break bottlenecks, untangle tracks and harness technology so that more trains can run to more places more often, creating new opportunities and supporting jobs.”

Read more: Here's all the London Easter travel disruption due to major railway work

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union however, said: "Like most people, we will believe this when we see it."

The union's general secretary Mick Cash said: "There simply aren't the trains and staff available to make this plan happen. Fault for that lies smack at the door of over two decades of privatisation."

Related articles