Revealed: £2bn rail plans set to improve Portsmouth services

Network Rail work at London Waterloo. Picture: Leo Wilkinson
Network Rail work at London Waterloo. Picture: Leo Wilkinson
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NETWORK Rail has unveiled its multi-billion pound plan to improve the railway route covering Portsmouth.

Today it released its five-year-plan for the Wessex railway route, one of the UK’s busiest stretches of railway.

Network Rail is injecting an additional 22 per cent of funding in a bid to reduce delays and improve reliability for Portsmouth passengers.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: ‘This ambitious plan will help us deliver a more reliable service for the millions of people who travel on the route every day, from Waterloo to Portsmouth, and beyond.

‘Our stretch of railway is one the busiest and most congested in the UK - we’re already running at capacity with 230 million passenger journey a year, and that number is only set to rise. This investment will help us meet this growing demand head-on.’

A statement said that the work will provide more opportunities for third party investors in Hampshire, which could create more projects.

The five-year-plan, published today by Network Rail, will see the company begin its improvements next year.

The team plan to deliver ‘a better railway for the millions of people who rely on it’.

The Office of Rail and Road (OPR) will review the plan and make a final determination of Network Rail’s funding needs in the Autumn.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage previously slammed Portsmouth rail links to London, branding them ‘not fit for purpose’.

On hearing the news, she said: ‘The slow journey times and overcrowded trains we experience in this area are not only a daily frustration for commuters, but an obstacle to our local economic growth.

‘I’ve long campaigned for better rail services, with debates in the House of Commons and meetings with Ministers and Rail companies.

‘This announcement is positive news and a step towards more modern trains, faster journeys and reliable service.’