Network Rail’s £44bn five-year plan


Network Rail has published its five-year Control Period 7 (CP7) strategic business plan (SBP) for railway infrastructure in England & Wales – with a budget of £44 billion.

Engineering work at night.
Credit: Network Rail.

Ahead of its completion of CP6, Network Rail (NR) has published the SBP for its five-year CP7 programme for England and Wales. 

The plan will focus on the operation, maintenance and renewal of railway infrastructure in four of NR’s regions (excluding Scotland Railway). 

With a budget of £44.1 billion, works are expected to be delivered between 1 April 2024 and 31 March 2029.  

Inside the SBP 

The plans come in response to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) High Level Output Statement (HLOS), covering what it wants railways to deliver, and its Statement of Funds Available (SoFA) which covers how much funding is available – which was published in December.

NR’s SBP sets out to deliver five of the Government’s strategic objectives for rail. This includes: 

  • Meeting customer needs. 
  • Delivering financial sustainability. 
  • Contributing to long term economic growth. 
  • Levelling up and connectivity. 
  • Delivering environmental sustainability.

The works involved in the plans include: 

  • Renewing lifts and escalators. 
  • Improving lighting and passenger information systems for personal security and safety. 
  • Investment in earthworks and drainage renewals. 
  • Investment into a climate change adaptation strategy and the Weather Risk Taskforce. 
  • Installing equipment on trains which monitor infrastructure conditions remotely. 
  • Investing £1.85 billion in signalling to improve train reliability performance.  


Procurement for the North West & Central region is underway and due to complete in late summer 2023. The Eastern region is currently refocusing its approach to the market. 

NR has identified several risks that could prolong deliverability: 

  • Electrification and plant assets – specifically the availability and cost of copper. 
  • Structures and earthworks assets – the war in Ukraine has affected construction material affordability and availability, and lengthening lead times. 
  • Signalling – Constraints on supply chain capacity. 
  • Track material capacity – competing demand with HS2

With work expected to peak between 2025 and 2027, NR will be competing with HS2 for raw materials like steel, ballast, sleepers and overhead line equipment (OLE) cabling, as well as highly skilled resources and workers. 

Planning review  

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) will review the initial SBP against the Government’s HLOS and SoFA, and will publish its draft determination later this year, with targeted measures and incentives. 

Scotland’s Railway’s CP7 will be submitted to the ORR later this Summer, as the Scottish HLOS and SoFA were published in February 2023. 

CP6 is expected to complete in March 2026. 

Our plan for CP7 is ambitious, focussed on our passengers and customers and reflects the current complexities and challenges facing the industry.

“There will no doubt be obstacles ahead and I look forward to working collaboratively with the sector to deliver this plan, reshape the industry and build a railway that is fit for the future,” said Andrew Haines, NR’s CEO. 

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