MORE than £4 billion will be spent on major improvements in the South East over the next five years, rail bosses have announced.

Network Rail has pledged to upgrade more than 150 stations across the region by 2024.

And 662km of track will be replaced – more than three times the length of the M25.

The Government has given Network Rail South East £2 billion for operating costs, £2 billion for renewals and £304 million for railway reinvestment.

Managing director John Halsall said the “record funding” would help move towards a “metro-style railway” within the next decade.

He said: “We recognise that train performance on the South East route has been amongst the worst in the country. That’s simply not good enough and our passengers deserve much better.

“This record funding gives us a fantastic opportunity to begin to put things right.

“Our ambition is to run a railway service which is sustainable,

efficient, dependable, punctual, frequent and safe – one that passengers trust.”

The South East rail network is the busiest and most congested in the country, with 5,000 passenger trains running every day.

But according to a report by Network Rail South East, the region “has endured years of under-investment”.

The £4.3 billion cash injection now needs to be spent “wisely”, said Mr Halsall.