'We'll believe this when we see it': 6,400 more train services promised by 2021

Sean Morrison
Industry figures: Investment in UK rail network will mean 6,400 more services by 2021

Investment in the UK rail network will mean 6,400 more train services will be running each week by 2021, according to industry figures.

According to the research, a £50 billion investment in the rail network will result in an 11 per cent rise in the number of weekday services.

But union bosses have said there is not enough staff or trains available to make the plans happen.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said the UK has seen failed “big promises” from the likes of beleaguered Southern rail.

He said: "Like most people, we will believe this when we see it. There simply aren't the trains and staff available to make this plan happen.

"Like so much of the spin from our rip-off private train companies, these big promises are doomed to turn to dust."

Operators are already running more than 1,350 more trains each week compared with four years ago, the study, released by the Rail Delivery Group, found.

The promised additional services include an increase in frequency for London commuters and those on high-speed England to Scotland routes.

Improved timetables for those using the Edinburgh to Glasgow and TransPennine routes have been earmarked.

And more improvements covering Kent, the Midlands, the North West, the West Country and Wales are also included in the plans.

Many of the extra services will be operating by 2019.

The ability to run more trains is one of the key benefits of south-east England's Thameslink Programme and Crossrail project.

Punctuality on Britain's rail network is at its lowest point in over a decade.

Some 12.3 per cent of trains failed to reach their destinations on time last year, according to the Office of Rail and Road.

This is the worst performance for a 12-month period since the year ending September 2006, when the figure reached 12.5 per cent.

The latest passenger survey by Transport Focus in autumn last year revealed that just 81 per cent are satisfied with the railways, a figure which has not been lower since spring 2007.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: "The £50 billion-plus Railway Upgrade Plan will help ease the congestion on Britain's railway.

"It will break bottlenecks, untangle tracks and harness technology so that more trains can run to more places more often, creating new opportunities and supporting jobs."

Lianna Etkind of the Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the increase in trains as it would "ease the overcrowding which makes so many commuters' lives a misery".

But she also called for investment in longer trains and for smaller towns and villages to be better connected with public transport to ensure rail offers a "viable and environmentally responsible alternative to car travel".