Vision for the future of railways
Better services, improved passenger information, and cuts in the cost of running the railways have been outlined in future plans announced by rail chiefs.
Described as an initial industry plan, the programme covers the period 2014 to 2019, with the industry aiming to cut rail costs by £1.3 billion a year by the end of this decade.
Plans include £5.6 billion-worth of schemes, including the Northern Hub - a £560 million plan to deliver more than 700 extra services a day between Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield.
The rail chiefs' vision also includes journey time improvements in the East Midlands, Yorkshire, Bristol and Oxford areas and electrification of the Midland main line, the north trans-Pennine line, and further electrification schemes in Scotland.
The plan also envisages improvements to a number of stations including Fenchurch Street in London and Liverpool Central, as well as a £200 million scheme to improve services between Inverness and Aberdeen in Scotland. By better linking Britain's major cities, an extra 180,000 peak-time seats could be provided, as well as accommodating a 30% increase in freight.
Rail chiefs also announced plans to move from 800 signal boxes to 14 modern signalling centres. The hoped-for schemes, which will need Government approval, are in addition to £4.9 billion-worth of ongoing projects such as the Thameslink and Crossrail schemes in London and already-announced electrification schemes such as the Great Western line.
The rail industry also spoke of trying to improve the passenger experience in key areas such as journey information, comfort and accessibility.
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "Rail has a bright future in supporting a successful green economy in the years ahead. This plan shows how we can do that by providing a better quality of service to growing numbers of passengers at a more affordable cost.
"We look forward to working with government to ensure the right framework is in place to make this possible."
Rail minister Theresa Villiers said: "We welcome this plan and the industry's commitment to making the railways achieve better value for money. It is encouraging to see members of the rail industry working together on the long-term challenges we jointly face of maintaining investment and improving services while making the railway more affordable for taxpayers and farepayers."