Transparency data

Rail subsidy per passenger mile

Input indicator, broken down by rail franchise, published annually from May 2011.


Subsidy per passenger mile

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Measurement template


DfT Business Plan input indicator

Geographical coverage: DfT franchised train operators (Great Britain)

Information broken down by: Train operator and type of subsidy

Latest data

The total subsidy to DfT franchised train operators was 6.8 pence per passenger mile in 2013 to 2014, down from 7.3 pence per passenger mile in 2012 to 2013.

For this indicator, total subsidy includes:

  • (a) subsidy paid directly to train operators by government
  • figures published by the Office of Rail Regulation based on passenger kilometres, converted to miles
  • (b) an allocation of the Network Grant (that is, payments made directly to Network Rail)
  • this is calculated by taking the total network grant, apportioned according to each franchise’s share of fixed track access charges

Rail subsidy per passenger mile by Train Operating Company (TOC)1

View this data in an interactive chart

  a   b   c (= a + b)  
  Train operator subsidy per passenger mile (pence)   Network Grant per passenger mile (pence)   Total subsidy per passenger mile (pence)  
Train Operating Company 2012-13 2013-14 2012-13 2013-14 2012-13 2013-14
c2c -2.8 -0.6 7.1 6.3 4.3 5.6
Chiltern Railways 1.0 -0.7 11.2 8.5 12.1 7.9
CrossCountry 1.0 1.6 15.3 14.0 16.3 15.6
East Coast -6.2 -6.5 6.7 5.9 0.5 -0.6
East Midlands Trains 0.2 0.3 13.9 12.9 14.1 13.1
First Capital Connect -8.3 -8.5 5.3 4.6 -3.0 -3.9
First Great Western -4.6 -2.1 9.2 8.5 4.5 6.4
First TransPennine Express 4.1 6.0 12.3 10.9 16.5 16.8
Greater Anglia -5.4 -5.9 8.6 7.5 3.2 1.5
London Midland 4.1 4.5 10.5 9.1 14.6 13.6
Northern Rail 23.9 25.8 29.1 25.7 53.1 51.5
Southeastern 3.1 3.6 9.9 8.8 13.0 12.4
Southern -7.9 -5.9 7.3 6.5 -0.6 0.6
South West Trains -8.8 -8.3 7.6 6.6 -1.2 -1.7
Virgin Trains -2.6 -2.6 8.4 7.3 5.7 4.7
All DfT franchised TOCs -2.5 -1.8 9.8 8.7 7.3 6.8

1Negative figures reflect where train operators were paying a premium to DfT rather than receiving a subsidy.

Source: Department for Transport, Office of Rail Regulation

In 2013 to 2014, 3 train operators had a negative subsidy per passenger mile, meaning that they paid government a larger premium than the effective subsidies they received via the Network Grant payment to Network Rail. These operators were First Capital Connect, South West Trains and East Coast.

Northern Rail received the highest subsidy per passenger mile of 51.5 pence per mile in 2013 to 2014.

The subsidy per passenger mile Excel file contains a more detailed breakdown of the subsidy figures for each train operator:

Background information

This indicator provides information about the amount of subsidy paid to Train Operating Companies, both directly by the Department for Transport and indirectly via grants to Network Rail.

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.

publishing schedule: annual
last updated: 21 August 2014
next update: August 2015

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

Subsidy data published by the Office of Rail Regulation

Network Grant estimates derived from DfT internal management information are apportioned between train operators in proportion to fixed track charges. The fixed track charges schedule is available on the Office of Rail Regulation’s website at

Further information

If you would like further information on this indicator, please contact DfT’s Rail Statistics team at:
Business Plan 2012 to 2015
Input and impact indicators