by Josephine Cordero Sapién
01 Dec 2021
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its Rail Industry Finance report 2020–21 for the United Kingdom.
The report outlines the income, expenditure and government funding of the UK rail industry for the financial year 1 Apr 2020–31 Mar 2021, during which the rail industry was heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. During this period, passenger journeys fell to a historic low and government emergency measures were introduced so that services kept running. This resulted in a large increase in train operator subsidies.
However, the report has also found that the rail sector has started to recover from the impact of the pandemic. In Q1 of 2021–22, approximately 182 million rail passenger journeys were made in Great Britain, 35 million more compared to the same quarter the previous year.
In 2020–21, the industry cost 20.7 billion GBP, funded by government (16.9 billion GBP), fares and other passenger income (2.5 billion GBP), and other sources (1.3 billion GBP). Fares income during this period was 1.8 billion GBP – a drop of 8.6 billion GBP from the previous year. The number of passenger journeys fell by 77.7 percent in 2020–21 (compared to 2019–20).
Government funding of the operational railway increased by 10.4 billion GBP to 16.9 billion GBP, mostly because of the emergency measures that were put in place for train operating companies.
Industry expenditure was 21 billion GBP in 2020–21. This was an increase of 0.8 billion GBP. Overall, the rail industry ran 20.9 percent fewer services, as a result of which variables expenditures (e.g. fuel, Network Rail charges etc.) fell. In some areas the pandemic increased expenditure, e.g. the purchase of PPE.
Construction is now complete on the Metro Flow project in Tyne and Wear, enabling contractors to being testing and commissioning.
Midlands Connect has unveiled plans to deliver 1.5 billion GBP in infrastructure improvements to enhance east-west rail connections in the UK.
Network Rail has launched an audio guide to help blind and partially sighted people navigate their way around Bristol Temple Meads Station.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has approved the introduction of Grand Union Trains between London, Cardiff and South West Wales from 2024.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has visited the new trains currently undergoing testing for the Glasgow Subway in Scotland.
HS2’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) Dorothy has begun its second one-mile tunnel bore under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.
GB Railfreight (GBRf) has invested 4.7 million GBP in a new maintenance depot in Peterborough alongside the UK's East Coast Mainline.
HS2 's Euston site construction team Mace Dragados Joint Venture is trialling a hydrogen fuel cell to power a fully electric JCB telehandler.
In his November column Jonn Elldge considers what the recent Budget means for the rail sector in terms of investment in projects such as HS2.
Transport for London (TfL) has launched a trial of a new bridging device, a ramp specifically designed for step-free stations.
The first of Avanti West Coast's new fleet of Hitachi bi-mode trains has begun dynamic testing at Network Rail’s RIDC.
Network Rail has announced that major improvement works are set to take place on the Bakerloo and London Overground lines.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is funding a series of projects to advance the future of Britain's rail network.
Porterbrook has announced that the first 25 new JNA-X Box Wagons have arrived in the UK and are now on lease with GB Railfreight (GBRf).
Transport for Wales has installed the first electrical lines on the Core Valley Lines to power the new South Wales Metro.
CAF's LeadMind platform is improving services on the Serco Caledonian Mk5 Sleeper fleet by providing real-time remote monitoring alerts.
Network Rail has installed the first electric wires between Manchester and Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.
The latest European Train Control System (ETCS) is being fitted to a DB Cargo UK freight locomotive for the East Coast Digital Programme.
Northern has completed its first ‘Intelligent Train,’ installing technology such as LIDAR horizon scanning cameras on a Class 150 unit.
Network Rail has commenced work on the next phase of electrification along the Midland Main Line between London and Wigston, Leicestershire.
A second 140 metre long, 2,050 tonnes tunnel boring machine (TBM) has begun its journey across London for HS2.
The GCRE has officially acquired the former Nant Helen opencast site and Onllwyn Washery in South Wales, paving the way for construction.
The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has revised its strategy on how to grow and develop the region’s rail network over the next 30 years.
HS2’s workforce has almost hit the 30,000 mark. This is down to the recruitment of 2,300 new employees in the last three months.
Network Rail has been testing whether laser beams and superheated plasma jets could be effective at clearing leaves off railway lines.
Lumo has attracted one million passengers and seen rail overtake air travel as the preferred mode of transport between Edinburgh and London.
Govia Thameslink Railway has sent its first Class 387/1 Great Northern train for ETCS upgrading as part of the East Coast Digital Programme.
Bond Street Elizabeth line station opened today, 24 October, with the first Elizabeth line service arriving at the station at 5.47am.
South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority will take over control of Supertram services, infrastructure and finances from March 2024.
HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB, has started working on two of the project’s longest cuttings in Buckingham and Oxfordshire.
hyperTunnel has revealed the world’s first underground structure constructed entirely by robots as part of a project for Network Rail.
Bristol Temple Meads train station is to become a testbed for new passenger tech having been named the UK’s first ‘Station Innovation Zone’.
Alstom has signed a new services contract with UK rail franchise Govia Thameslink Railway valued at £256 million.
West Midlands Railway's (WMR) new Class 196 train fleet has commenced passenger services on the Shrewsbury Line.
Network Rail is using 21st century technology to fix the Merseyrail underground tunnel in Liverpool without disrupting passenger services.
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Eversholt Rail, Southeastern and Hitachi Rail are upgrading the Class 395 high-speed Javelin trains that operate between London and Kent.
A new interchange route between Bank station’s Northern line concourse and DLR concourse and platforms has been opened.
Metrolink has announced that all 27 of its new trams have now been delivered in Greater Manchester as part of a 72 million GBP investment.
Varamis Rail has signed an agreement to lease a Class 321 Swift Express freight train from Eversholt Rail.
Network Rail has announced that its 4.5 million GBP project to upgrade the tracks at Newcastle Central Station is now complete.
The DfT and FirstGroup have agreed on a short-term contract extension for Avanti West Coast, which will last until the end of March 2023.
HS2 has launched the first of six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig more than 26 miles of tunnels under London.
HS2 Ltd has opened applications for tech start-ups and SMEs to join the fifth group of its Innovation Accelerator programme.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Bond Street Elizabeth line station will open on 24 October.
Stadler presented its IPEMU - independently powered EMU - at InnoTrans today in the presence of Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
Stadler formally presented its FLIRT tri-mode and CITYLINK tram-train for Transport for Wales at InnoTrans today.
ETCS testing for Class 43 trains has been complete, marking the achievement of a new milestone for the East Coast Digital Programme.
The Birmingham Eastside Metro extension has reached a new milestone with the installation of 45 metres of double track.
A new DLR timetable will be introduced on 26 September in response to changes in passenger use of the network since the Elizabeth line opened.
Network Rail has opened a new entrance building with step-free access for Elizabeth Line passengers using Ilford station in London.
Transport for London (TfL) has reached a funding agreement with the UK government to support its transport network until March 2024.
Stadler has completed its first two Class 555 metro trains for Nexus, the owner and operator of Tyne and Wear Metro.
Refurbishment of Romford station has been completed as part of a programme to upgrade existing stations providing Elizabeth line access.
The first JNA-X Box Wagon prototype for GB Railfreight and Porterbrook has rolled off Greenbrier’s production line in Romania.
Avanti West Coast has been in the news, more so than other TOCs during this period of rail strikes. Jonn Elledge looks into what's going on.
The UK Transport Secretary has signed a new partnership agreement with Israel to share expertise on large scale rail projects.
Abellio UK has announced a management buyout deal that will pave the way for a new UK-based company to take over its existing UK services.
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HS2 has commenced work on the thirty-eight cross passages that will link the northbound and southbound Chiltern tunnels.
Oxford station will undergo a 161 million GBP upgrade that will enable more freight and passenger services.
Eversholt Rail and Vivarail have signed an agreement to develop a battery power and range extension system for Class 321 ‘Renatus’ trains.
At the Future Mobility Showcase Day hosted by WMGC, Coventry City Council presented its ongoing Coventry Very Light Rail Project.
Network Rail has signed a contract with EDF Renewables UK for the supply of 49.9MW of solar power for non-traction power requirements.
South Western Railway (SWR) has begun a three-month trial of a new app designed to improve station accessibility.
Network Rail has formally begun the legal consultation process with the necessary trade unions regarding its planned maintenance reforms.
Stadler has started production of the Class 93 locomotive fleet for Rail Operations UK at its plant in Valencia, Spain.
Dorothy, HS2’s 2000-tonne tunnel boring machine, has made its first breakthrough on the UK's high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham.
Transport for London (TfL) is trialling a cooling panel solution to reduce platform and tunnel temperatures at deep Tube stations.
Network Rail is investing 30 million GBP into reducing platform congestion and improving accessibility at London Victoria station.
Off the back of Europe’s latest record-breaking heatwave, Network Rail has commissioned a new resilience taskforce.
The UK Government is more than trebling its investment into the Transpennine route upgrade (TRU) to nine billion GBP.
Passenger tram services have now begun on the Birmingham Westside Metro extension from Library to Edgbaston.
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Jonn Elledge considers some of the railway lines that were cut due to the Beeching Report that might reopen under Restoring Your Railway.
HS2 Ltd has contracted Laing O’Rourke to build the HS2 Interchange Station in Solihull at the heart of the high-speed rail network.
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Northern is using the same light detection and radar (LIDAR) scanning technology as NASA on its fleet to improve safety and efficiency.
Network Rail is investing more than 120 million GBP of Scottish Government funding to increase the power supply of Scotland’s railway network.
The Secretary of State for Transport has approved Network Rail's plans to carry out multi-billion-pound rail upgrades in West Yorkshire
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Hitachi Rail is installing a world-first monitoring system on GWR's high-speed fleet to provide digital data on train wheelset performance.
TfL has launched a Power Purchase Agreement tender as the first step for powering the London Underground with 100 percent renewable energy.
The first design images have been revealed for HS2’s maintenance and control centre at the Washwood Heath Depot in Birmingham.
Transport companies have to have resilient cybersecurity systems in place so they can protect their assets and detect and respond to incidents.
Rail upgrades at the end of July will extend platforms and provide power for the Elizabeth Line in preparation for its next stage of opening.
Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission to HS2 Ltd to construct two viaducts in Birmingham.
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HS2 has begun construction of the first of five ‘green tunnels’ that have been designed to blend into the landscape.
Network Rail has moved all signalling equipment from the outdated signal box near Philips Park to Manchester’s modern rail operating centre.
Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture is trialling an electric, high-capacity drilling rig for construction in Warwickshire.
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Phase two of work on Nexus’ Gosforth Metro depot has been completed with the installation of three more sections of line on the site.
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