Sir Peter Hendy with some of the audience at London's Infrarail exhibition

Big changes lie ahead for the railway, Network Rail chief Sir Peter Hendy predicted today (13 April 2016).

The days of main line trains lingering in terminal stations are numbered.

Former Transport for London boss Sir Peter said the main line railway would have to become more like the London Tube.

When a train comes into the terminus station of the Bakerloo line at Elephant and Castle, the driver gets out and another driver gets in the other end, ready to take it back out again.

There is now such a demand for rail travel that London’s main line terminus stations would have to adopt similar tactics, rather than allowing the train to take up valuable capacity just sitting there.

The main line now faces “metroisation” which he conceded was a clumsy word to describe the process.

The main line will also have to follow the example of the four London Transport lines with digital signalling which allows a more intensive service to be run.

The money for this metroisation process cannot come from only the public purse. Outside sources of finance will have to be attracted into the network, with the investment paid back by increased turnover.

There is now wide acceptance that the railway has never been more vital to the economy and especially in serving new housing development.

Developers who benefit from rail investment are already contributing to London’s Crossrail, and more would have to provide funds if future infrastructure such as Crossrail 2 is to be delivered.

Sir Peter also warned that Network Rail intends to sell as much of the railway property portfolio as it can, but not at any price, to fund infrastructure improvements.

He also backed Nicola Shaw’s report recommending more private finance involvement in the railway.

Sir Peter said Network Rail had limitless ambition to improve the railway, for example by re-doubling singled lines, but “we need people to pay for it”.

Speaking at London’s Infrarail exhibition, Sir Peter said the railway would also have to welcome more staff, including more women and more ethnic minorities, in order to meet the demand for rail infrastructure and rail services.