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Multi-billion pound improvements to railways in the South announced

Network Rail have announced their plans to improve the service on trains across the South Coast.

Around £2 billion is going to be spent on Network Rail's Wessex route, which is covered by South Western Railway and covers places including: Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester and Bournemouth.

The five-year plan sees a 22% increase in funding to help reduce delays and improve reliability, particularly for passengers travelling to and from Portsmouth.

It's hoped the proposals will help drive economic growth, jobs and housing across the South by delivering a better rail service to the millions of people who rely on it.

The investment will also mean the route is more cost efficient, will help to increase capacity, and build on the UK's reputation for running the safest railway in Europe.

Becky Lumlock, who's the route managing director for Network Rail's Wessex route, said: "The ambitious plan will help us deliver a more reliable service for the millions of people who travel on the route every day, from Waterloo to Portsmouth, and beyond.

"Our stretch of railway is one of the busiest and most congested in the UK - we're already running at capacity with 230 million passenger journey's a year, and that number is only set to rise.

"This investment will help us meet this growth demand head-on..

"Whether we're replacing Victorian bridges, modernising high-risk level crossings or digitising our analogue signalling systems, every penny we spend will be about making a positive difference to people's journeys."

The Office of Rail and Road will now review the plan and decide what funding Network Rail needs before making a final decision in the Autumn.

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