Network Rail is investing £47.1 billion in a new plan to tackle train delays and introduce new services.
The new funding was announced in October and means that Network Rail can spend up to 25 percent more money on the everyday running of trains and stations.
The Network Rail chief executive, Mark Carne, praised the “healthy” budget.
“This way of allocating capital is a much healthier way than it was [for 2014-19]: you’ve got £15bn and a long shopping list of stuff, which was really very immature,” he added.
A major investment will be on the TransPennine route between Leeds and Manchester, where investment will lead to increased capacity and reduced journey times.
Network Rail will also install water fountains in the majority of its 17 UK stations by the end of this year.
“We manage 17 stations directly and plan to have the majority of the water fountains installed by the end of 2018, with the others installed as soon as they can be,” said a spokesperson.
“By introducing free water fountains at our managed stations we can make a simple change that not only helps quench the thirst of station users, but also has a positive impact on our sustainability ambitions by reducing single-use plastics,” said David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property. “We’re looking forward to the introduction of these water fountains and the benefits they will bring the public and the environment.”
Carne also hopes to increase diversity among members of staff. He has a set a target to increase the number of female employees by 50 percent in the next five years.
This comes after Lloyds Banking Group (LON: LLOY) became the first FTSE 100 firm to set an official diversity target, hoping to staff from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds filling eight percent of senior management by 2020.