Here's Network Rail's £2bn plan for one of the UK's busiest stretches of railway - from Waterloo to the south coast

Rebecca Smith
The £800m Waterloo and south west upgrade will be completed in December
The £800m Waterloo and south west upgrade will be completed in December (Source: Network Rail)

Network Rail yesterday unveiled its bumper £47bn five-year plan for Britain's railways - and among its proposals, it has outlined £2bn to be ploughed into the route between Waterloo station and the south coast.

The company said it will increase funding on its Wessex railway route, covered by South Western Railway, by 22 per cent between next year and 2024, to help reduce delays and improve reliability.

Becky Lumlock, managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

Our stretch of railway is one of the busiest and most congested in the UK - we’re already running at capacity with 230m passenger journeys a year, and that number is only set to rise.

This investment will help us meet this growing demand head-on.

Read more: Network Rail to slash train delays by 15 per cent in £47bn five-year plan

Network Rail said its "alliance" with South Western Railway will result in more joint teams managing the service as it moves operations into Basingstoke.

Work will continue to renew old Victorian railway bridges, modernise or close level crossings and digitise signalling systems to develop "a more efficient, safer railway".

In December, the £800m Waterloo and south west upgrade will be completed, bolstering capacity at the UK's busiest station by 30 per cent at peak times, with the reopening of the former Waterloo International Terminal.

Network Rail said other projects to further improve the railway will require additional funding, and will be developed on "a case-by-case basis".

The route is set to become "less dependent on the public purse" as Network Rail delves into more third party funding opportunities. It said there will be more chances for third party investors in Hampshire, making a greater number of projects possible.

The funding is part of Network Rail's strategic business plan for work over the next five years, which will go before the Office of Rail and Road for review so the regulator can assess Network Rail's funding needs going forward.

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