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UK Budget focuses on proposals to strengthen rail transportation

Chancellor Philip Hammond presented a £84m package for fitting in-cab digital signalling systems on-board trains across the country in his Autumn Budget statement.

The published documents did not provide further details regarding this initiative.

In addition, a new railcard will be offered for those aged 26 to 30, which will allow holders to purchase rail tickets at a reduced price.

Commenting on the Budget, Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said: “This budget underscores how crucial rail is to the future of the economy in every corner of the country.

“It is good news that there is support for local decision making, and investment in skills and infrastructure, particularly in the North of England.

“It is also good news that the government has chosen to build on the forthcoming trial of the 26-30 Railcard by Greater Anglia on behalf of the wider industry.”

An additional £337m has been allocated to go towards a fleet of new trains on the Tyne & Wear Metro, while a further £6m will be provided for the Midlands Connect motorway and rail projects.

KPMG transport UK head Ed Thomas said: “Today’s announcement of a £1.7bn Transport Fund for Local Transport priorities, £300m for rail connections into HS2 and funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro rolling stock will be seen to go some way to redress the balance.

“London will welcome the additional flexibility that full business rates retention will give it to fund and finance transport infrastructure.”

Hammond also announced an award of £5m for the development of digital railway upgrades in southeast England and east London.

The funding will also be used to facilitate frequent services on the branch to Moorgate in London.

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