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Campaigners react to new rail industry financial figures

9 March 2016

Campaign for Better Transport has responded to a new report published today from the Office of Road and Rail which analyses financial data from the rail industry.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, said:

"Rail users are continuing to pay record amounts toward the running the railways. With ticket sales now representing nearly three quarters of total income, passengers interests like simpler, cheaper, fairer ticketing and better stations and trains should be central to rail policy rather than languishing at the margins."

ENDS

For further information please contact James MacColl at Campaign for Better Transport, on 020 7566 6483/07984 773 468 or james.maccoll@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).

2. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) today published its 'GB rail industry financial information 2014-15’ report, which provides a detailed analysis of the latest financial data from train operators, Network Rail and governments. The report and announcement are available online here. Key findings include:

  • In 2014-15, the rail industry’s income was £13.5 billion. Most of this was from passengers (71 per cent), with governments providing 26 per cent of funding. Other sources of income, such as property, provided 3 per cent.
  • After adjusting for payments within the industry, the overall cost of running Great Britain’s railways was £13.6 billion, with 54 per cent of these costs incurred on train operations and 46 per cent on rail infrastructure.
  • Compared with 2013-14, industry income from passenger fares has increased by £0.4 billion (5 per cent), to £8.8 billion in 2014-15. This is primarily because the number of passenger journeys increased by 4 per cent.
  • Governments’ funding of the rail industry as a whole has reduced by 9 per cent, from £3.9 billion to £3.5 billion in 2014-15. This includes funding from all government sources, including devolved administrations and passenger transport executives.
  • At an aggregate level, franchised train operators contributed significantly more to governments than in previous years. Whereas in 2013-14 franchises received net support of £0.1 billion, in 2014-15 they made net payments of £0.7 billion to governments.
  • Rail infrastructure net funding from governments increased by 12 per cent from £3.7 billion in 2013-14 to £4.2 billion in 2014-15.
  • Industry costs increased by £0.9 billion (7 per cent) in 2014-15, largely due to an increase in Network Rail’s maintenance and renewals costs, as well as an increase in train operator costs.
  • In 2014-15, total governments’ funding varied from £1.66 per passenger journey in England to £6.70 per journey in Scotland and £9.14 per journey in Wales. The rail industry has high fixed costs, so these differences in funding are partly due to the very different average passenger densities, with 129 passengers per train in England, 81 in Scotland and 69 in Wales.

3. Research, commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport, shows by 2020 Government income from the railways could increase threefold from £1.1 billion today to £3.5 billion, enough to reduce public spending on the railways by a quarter (25 per cent) and introduce much needed fares and ticketing improvements. The report 'Future Rail Funding: Passenger Opportunities', which was produced by Credo for Campaign for Better Transport, can be found here.

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