Network Rail has been given £38bn for a massive revamp of Britain's railways - here's how they plan to spend the money.
Rail commuters will pay higher fares from today, with annual tickets rising by an average of 3.1%.
The Government launched a "fightback" today over controversial plans for the HS2 rail link promising a £15 billion boost to the economy.
Some rail services would not be "commercially viable" without extra funding from the taxpayer, a Government spokesman has said.
A Department for Transport spokesman defended the Government's record on rail spending, arguing the transport service delivered wider "social, environmental and economic benefits":
– A Department for Transport spokesman
Subsidy and premium differ across the UK, even at a regional level, because of variations in demand and costs, with some busier services requiring less Government support.
Many services would not be commercially viable without taxpayer funding, and we subsidise them because they deliver wide social, environmental and economic benefits to their communities.
Some £7.7bn in revenue was generated just through rail fares last year, with higher passenger numbers credited with the 3.6% rise on the amount brought in during 2011/12, according to a report from the regulator.
According to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) report covering April 2012- March 2013:
- The cost of running Britain's railways was £12.3 billion in 2012-13. This overall cost has remained consistent over the past three years.
- The industry earned nearly £3 billion from discounted tickets (such as advance, off-peak, super-off peak and special offers) - amounting to more than 40% of the total passenger income.
- Rolling stock charges paid by Virgin Trains, for example, were £302 million but those paid by East Coast were £53 million.
The amount of money spent on the railways varies widely from England to Scotland and Wales, according to a report from industry regulators.
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found a "huge disparity" between Government spending in different parts of the UK, with rail journeys in England receiving as little as £2.19 per passenger journey.
In Scotland, £7.60 was spent per passenger journey and £9.33 in Wales during the year 2012/13, the report found.
Total government funding for 2012/13 for the railways amounted to £4 billion which represented 30.9% of the industry's total income and included £700,000 from Transport Scotland and £100,000 from the Welsh Government.
Network Rail Director Mick Carne said the planned £38 billion upgrade to Britain's railways will improve the resilience of the system and the service for passengers.
Speaking to Consumer Editor Chris Choi he said the investment announced today was vital, and that he was "very conscious of the fact" that Network Rail "had a better job to do".
The head of one of the train drivers' trade union has hit out at the Government's strategy for improving the railways and called for the network to be returned to public ownership.
Mick Whelan, the general secretary of Aslef, said the £38bn announced for 2014-19 "only keeps us standing still".
The truth is that, after 20 years of privatisation, things aren't getting better. That's why opinion poll after opinion poll shows that most people - including most Conservative voters - in this country want our fragmented railways brought back into public ownership so we can run a properly integrated public service. It's time to build a better railway for everyone in Britain.
The £38 billion revamp to Britain's railways is "a bold plan" but one "customers expect and want to see", the head of Network Rail has told Daybreak.
Mick Carne explained: "We are going to spend about £13bn in the operating and maintenance of the railway, but about £25bn on really making substantial improvements to the railway."
Britain's railways will get a £38bn investment as part of a massive revamp plan designed to tackle growing demand, Network Rail is expected to announce later today.
Plans are expected to include electrification of 850 miles of track from Maidenhead to Swansea and Sheffield to Bedford, as well introducing a 24 hour service to the Thameslink programme.
On top of that, £13bn will be poured into replacing and renewing older parts of the network, such as refurbishing nearly 6,000 sets of points.
Hundreds of stations across the country will be transformed including major schemes at London Bridge, Manchester Victoria, Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Queen Street.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “A key part of this government’s long term economic plan is investing in world class infrastructure."
However, Network Rail is also braced for a hefty £70m fine from regulators after failing to hit its target for train punctuality.
A survey of 7,415 regular UK adult travelers in November 2013 showed more than a quarter of commuters were delayed on last journey.
It also revealed:
- 16% of all passengers experienced a delay on their last journey, with this figure rising to 26% for commuters
- 21% of commuters said they were likely to have stood on their last journey
- 11% said toilets were not in good working order. This rose to 20% for London Midland , 19% for Southeastern and 17% for First Capital Connect (FCC)
- 11% said they had cause to complain about the last journey they had taken, but 75% did not officially complain. Of those who did complain, more than half (55%) were dissatisfied with how it was handled
Passenger satisfaction levels have dipped below 50% for the majority of train companies, according to a Which? survey of more than 7,000 regular travelers. For two companies - Greater Anglia and Southeastern - the satisfaction score was only 40%.
Ten of the 19 companies had satisfaction scores of less than 50%, with Merseyrail (70%) the best-performing company.