Government justifies rail fare increase with Â£8bn railway investment
25-Nov-10by Annie Byrne
The Government has confirmed it is to invest £8bn in the rail network, following news that passengers face an average fare hike of 6.2 per cent next year.It is buying around 2,000 new carriages to tackle increased overcrowding on main commuter lines, as well as electrifying lines and continuing with the Thameslink development programme.The government claims the recently announced fare rises will safeguard the investment.Six hundred of the new carriages are designated for the trans-London fare rises, which, among other connections, will tie Excel London in the east to Heathrow Airport in the west.A further 800 carriages will be made available for Thameslink (the north-south link across London), with 650 more given to franchises elsewhere in the country.The new carriages, which will increase capacity on the network by 17 per cent, will enter service between next year and 2019, enabling an extra 185,000 passengers to be carried at any one time.Transport secretary Philip Hammond claimed passengers would start to see benefits "within the next few months".Manchester, home to Manchester Central and the recently announced EventCity venue, will also benefit from increased capacity. Lines running from Manchester to Liverpool and Manchester to Blackpool are going to be electrified. Electric trains cost roughly half as much as diesel powered trains to run, as well as being more reliable.