£4.7bn Railtrack boost

Five-year grant to "deliver a modern safe railway with greater public accountability"
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The Independent Online

Railtrack will be given £4.7 billion over five years. The grant from the rail industry regulator is to "deliver a modern safe railway with greater public accountability."

Railtrack will be given £4.7 billion over five years. The grant from the rail industry regulator is to "deliver a modern safe railway with greater public accountability."

The grant, announced today, is £900 million more than was originally planned but is still less than Railtrack had hoped. It will enable Railtrack to spend £15bn over five years.

The regulator, Tom Winsor, stipulated that Railtrack would have to produce a register showing the condition and capacity of its assets.

His announcement and review of how much Railtrack can charge operators for using its lines was postponed from last week after the Hatfield train crash in which four people died. A broken rail is thought to be the likely cause.

Mr Winsor warned: "Along with this considerable injection of money comes much greater accountability."

He added: "This review equips Railtrack to invest strongly, competently and efficiently in the railway industry. The shortcomings of the past regime are swept away, replaced by a sound framework for investment and the finance to carry out a rail renaissance."

The financial structure of Railtrack following its privatisation in 1996 left it with a weak financial structure and little or no incentive to invest."

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