RIA: Rail finance figures for 2016-17 represent ‘big opportunity’

The RIA have today stated that the latest ORR annual statistical report indicates a “big opportunity” for suppliers.

The report shows that while government funding was down 12.6% compared to 2015-16, private investment had a real-term increase of 13.2% to £925m.

This figure represents the highest private investment since the time series began in 2006-07 as does the £767m invested in rolling stock.

Government funding was down due to the end of Crossrail funding despite the increased HS2 backing which equalled £839m.

The overall public investment in rail – including direct rail support, PTE grants, HS2 and other support – was £4.2bn.

However, the RIA was pleased with the private funding record and remained optimistic for the future of the industry.

“These figures from the ORR are great news,” said Darren Caplan, chief executive of the RIA. “They show increasing private investment delivering upgrades to the UK’s rail system, ensuring even better service for lower cost.

“The rail supply sector is working with Network Rail to ensure the UK railways are open for business, implementing the recommendations of the Hansford Review on contestability.

“There is a big opportunity here for suppliers to get even more involved, and we look forward to working with them in the future to continue to get more third-party investment into the sector.”

For the seventh year in a row TOCs paid more money in premiums to the government than they received in subsidies although this was down 8.5% from 2015/16.

However, including direct support companies received 5.1p for every passenger kilometre travelled, the same as the previous year.

In response to the report Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “With rail ever more crucial to Britain’s economy, investment from private companies working in partnership with the public sector, is helping the nation to succeed.

“Working together, investment from rail companies is improving journeys, better connecting communities and creating jobs now and for the long term.”

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