The Department for Transport has published its strategic vision for rail for the UK, which involves exploring opportunities to reopen old railway lines that were closed in the 1960s and 70s.
According to the new strategy, reopening closed lines would only be considered where there was an economic benefit, or the chance to “unlock new housing growth”. Any lines that are to be considered for reopening would also need to provide value for money.
If some lines come back into use, there will be plenty of work to do to not only make the railway lines fit for purpose, but also to revamp dilapidated stations. This will undoubtedly involve investing in a range of new external LED displays.
Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said that there has been “massive growth” in Britain’s railways in recent years.
“This industry has reversed decades of decline under British Rail, delivered new investment and new trains, and doubled the number of passengers,” he added.
The Metro highlighted a government commitment to accelerate the reopening of the rail link between Oxford and Cambridge, which it is estimated will cost £500 million.
Other plans in the government’s new rail strategy involve splitting up some of the rail franchises currently being operated. The Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchises are all set to be split into smaller franchises in 2021, in a bid to ensure that every passenger, line and station is central to a company’s operations.
Mr Grayling added that this will see an end to the “one-size-fits-all approach of franchising”, to help deliver a more efficient and reliable service.
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