Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline update still awaited, exactly three-and-a-half years since last published
Friday 21 April has marked another milestone in the history of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP), the date being exactly three-and-a-half years since it was last published by the Government on 21 October 2019, with annual updates promised.
The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has been campaigning for the RNEP to be updated and published because – with passenger numbers returning to close to pre-pandemic levels – the UK rail network desperately needs enhancements to increase rail capacity, improve journey times, and generate further economic growth.
RIA’s Chief Executive Darren Caplan said: “It is incredibly frustrating that another milestone has been reached for non-publishing of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. The Government promised to update the RNEP annually, and when asked have replied that it would be published ‘soon’.
“Yet exactly three-and-a-half years, or 1277 days, since the last update we still await the pipeline list of enhancements schemes to be circulated. This failure to publish – or make a related announcement of any sort – means real uncertainty for rail businesses, impacting investment, jobs, and skills development, and threatening the ability of SMEs to survive. It also increases the cost of future work.
“So RIA and our members once again call on the Government to publish the RNEP as a matter of urgency. Doing so would not only provide the clarity rail suppliers need on important rail projects and the long-term funding to pay for it, it would also mean the supply sector can get on with helping to unleash economic growth, and give a much-needed boost to UK rail’s future connectivity and capacity.”