POLICY PAPER: Unlocking private sector investment in UK rail

Executive Summary

The UK’s rail sector faces significant challenges. Essential infrastructure enhancements are required to modernise the network, increase freight capacity, reach net-zero mobility targets and ultimately deliver a rail network fit for modern Britain.

Meeting this challenge will necessitate substantial investment. However, in the current spending climate of high costs and tightening budgets, relying solely on public funding, as is currently the case, is no longer viable. This report outlines why investment in rail is still crucial and how the next Government should harness private-sector investment to bridge the looming funding gap, in addition to the reforms and incentives needed to attract private-sector rail investment.

Most vitally, this report makes the case that securing alternative streams to deliver rail projects is not merely a challenge that must be met, but an opportunity that can be seized. Rail infrastructure drives productivity, fosters economic growth and provides immense social value. Securing the right investment has the potential to generate substantial economic and social benefits across the length and breadth of the country.

To harness private investment, regulatory reforms are essential. Long-term stability, a clear strategy, simplification of contractual arrangements, risk allocation reconsideration and enhanced market engagement are among the suggested reforms. Additionally, this report explores the routes to private investment such as Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Green Finance.

Access the full paper here.

Scroll to Top