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Cost of running the rail network

The costs of running the passenger rail network by DfT franchised train operating companies.

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DfT Business Plan input indicator

Geographical coverage: DfT franchised train operators (Great Britain)

Information broken down by: DfT franchised train operator

Latest data

The total cost of operating the rail network for train operators franchised by Department for Transport (DfT) in the financial year ending 2015 was £10.5 billion, which is £0.2 billion higher than last year. This consisted of £7.4 billion of train operator operating costs, and £3.1 billion of Network Grant paid to Network Rail. Note that the cost of running the whole rail network will have been higher than this as it would include the costs of train operators not franchised by DfT.

The costs of running the passenger rail network by DfT franchised train operating companies are shown below.

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Cost by Train Operating Company

  Total Operating Costs (£m)   Allocated Network Grant (£m)   Total (£m)  
Train Operating Company 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015
c2c 132.8 129.3 40.6 47.5 173.4 176.8
Chiltern Railways 164.9 147.9 63.6 46.8 228.5 194.7
CrossCountry 460.2 409.5 282.9 220.0 743.1 629.5
East Coast1 502.1 484.0 186.9 247.9 689.0 731.9
East Midlands Trains 359.8 305.7 178.6 149.8 538.4 455.5
First Capital Connect2 389.4 208.4 109.0 94.9 498.4 303.3
First Great Western 759.7 833.8 304.1 312.8 1,063.8 1,146.7
First TransPennine Express 251.0 251.7 112.2 109.4 363.3 361.0
Govia Thameslink Railway2 n/a 266.4 n/a 110.7 n/a 377.1
Greater Anglia 497.4 507.6 201.9 261.0 699.3 768.7
London Midland 381.7 396.3 133.2 181.9 514.8 578.2
Northern Rail 605.4 530.5 352.6 248.5 958.0 779.0
Southeastern 782.3 761.6 237.5 230.6 1,019.7 992.2
Southern 591.9 594.6 182.5 179.9 774.4 774.5
South West Trains 648.3 643.8 247.9 242.7 896.2 886.5
Virgin Trains East Coast1 n/a 54.7 n/a 20.7 n/a 75.3
Virgin Trains West Coast 849.9 874.2 281.3 420.4 1,131.2 1,294.6
DfT franchised operators total 7,376.7 7,400.0 2,914.8 3,125.5 10,291.4 10,525.5

Source: Office of Rail and Road (ORR), DfT 1 The East Coast ended on 1 March 2015 when Virgin Trains East Coast took over the franchise. 2 The First Capital Connect franchise ended on 14 September 2014 when Govia Thameslink Railway took over the franchise.

Operating costs

These data are based on the ORR study “GB Rail Industry Financial Information”, which in turn sourced data from the operators’ management accounts.

Any figures relating to premia or associated payments to the Department for Transport or Passenger Transport Executives are excluded. Within this total are payments made by operators to Network Rail for access to the rail network which contribute towards infrastructure costs.

Operators may not treat all aspects of operating costs in the same way in their accounts, and so care should be taken when using these figures.

Network Grant

There is no recognised rule for allocating the Network Grant across franchises. The distribution of Fixed Track Access Charges has been used to allocate the Network Grant by train operator. This differs from the method used by ORR in its GB Rail Industry Financial Information reports.

GB Rail Industry Financial Information 2014 to 2015

Further information about this indicator can be found in the measurement template.

  • publishing schedule: annual
  • last updated: 9 March 2016
  • next update: March 2017

Further information