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Passengers contributing over £8bn more of rail income than in 2010

Government investment in the railways has dropped by 16.4% since 2010/11, the ORR has revealed. Passengers in contrast have contributed an increasing proportion of the rail industry’s income relative to taxpayers over the past four years, up from 55.6% in 2010-11 to 61.5% in 2013-14.

Total government funding was £3.8bn in 2013-14, representing 28.5% of the industry’s total income, the regulator said in its latest rail industry financial report published today. 

“Passengers are increasingly the main funder of the railways and must be central to developing plans for future services and investment” - Richard Price, ORR

“The rail industry has achieved high and sustained growth as passenger journeys have increased by 16.6% (260M journeys) and the amount of freight carried on the network has risen by 18.1% (3.5bn net tonne kms)” ORR reported.

Investment in network enhancements stood at £3bn in 2013-14 with a further £12bn planned for the next four years, it said.

Cost of running Britain’s railways was £12.7bn, an increase of £0.15bn or 0.7% on the previous year, with half the costs incurred in train operation and half in managing rail infrastructure.

But the overall cost of running the railways over the last four years has remained stable, ORR said, increasing by just 0.03% despite significant growth in use and substantial investment including enhancements such as Thameslink.

Government contribution per passenger journey stood at £1.88 in England, £7.77 in Scotland and £9.18 in Wales.

“There has been substantial growth in the use of the railways in the past four years,” said ORR chief executive Richard Price. “Passengers are increasingly the main funder of the railways and must be central to developing plans for future services and investment.”

 ORR has demanded a new focus on passengers when Network Rail plans its maintenance possessions following the problems at Christmas.