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Network Rail regional infrastructure spend revealed

3140177 construction

The Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern franchise received the most infrastructure funding from Network Rail during the 2017-18 funding period, according to government’s rail regulator.

A total of £403M was spent on infrastructure work on the franchise’s routes, according to the Office or Rail and Road (ORR) report UK rail industry financial information 2017-18. A large portion of this funding was used for the £300M upgrade of the Thameslink line.

The Great Western route received £397M,  the second highest amount of infrastructure funding, and £383M went to infrastructure on lines operated by the Northern franchise.

In total Network Rail invested £4.19bn in rail infrastructure in the UK across 2017/18. In total it reclaimed £398M from train operators giving it a net funding spend of £3.8bn.

At the lower end of the scale, only £14M was spent on infrastructure upgrades on the Caledonian route in Scotland (see chart below for full breakdown).

Gov franchise funding

Network Rail’s grants were not allocated by franchise region, but the ORR split the spend out by franchise for the report.

The report also concludes that in 2017/18 the cost of running the railways rose 1.4% to £20.6bn and that, overall, the industry received 1.3% (£19.4bn) less income than in 2016/17.

It adds that this is largely due to falling passenger numbers. Income from fares fell 2.4% compared to the previous year.

This drop,contributed to lower returns to governments from train operators, resulting in an 8% increase in government’ funding. However, governments still received £400M net from train operators.

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