Passengers are continuing to pay a greater share of railway costs, according to figures for the past financial year just released by the Office of Rail Regulation. Expenditure was consistent with recent years at £12.3 billion, of which the Government contributed £4 billion. This proportion of public support is the lowest in recent years, amounting to 30.9 per cent of industry income. The figure is 9.1 per cent lower than it was in 2010-11. The number of passenger journeys has increased by 10.4 per cent over the past three years, and freight is also up.
HS2 opponents rely on pre-printed objections
More than half the responses to the HS2 Environmental Statement were received on ‘pre-produced material’ – and the greatest item of concern was minimising the new line’s impact on the Chilterns. This is disclosed in the ‘Summary of Issues Raised by Comments on the Environmental Statement’ prepared by the independent assessors appointed by Parliament’s Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills. Of the total of 21,833 comments “the most common type of response received was the campaign postcard,” they said.
Network Rail to pitch for New Zealand business
Network Rail Consulting has appointed Philip Chalk as director of asset management and maintenance - ANZ, with a focus on developing its consultancy business in New Zealand. Network Rail said he will 'help expand the rail consultancy’s business in New Zealand and Australia and advise clients on asset management'.
McLoughlin issues 'keep calm' message over HS2
The transport secretary has called for the railway industry to 'keep calm' over the continued criticism of HS2 which is coming from various opponents. Speaking at the Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum's annual conference today, Patrick McLoughlin said it was not his place to 'castigate' opponents, but the fact remained that HS2 was vital to deal with the railway capacity crunch.
HS2 development company joins safety body
HS2 Ltd is joining the industry's Rail Safety and Standards Board. HS2 Ltd’s technical director Andrew McNaughton, who was previously chief engineer at Network Rail, said: “This is another important step in the development of a world-class 21st century railway system that will bring huge benefits for the country."
HS2 'should be slower' -- and may cost more
The cost of HS2 could rise by almost a quarter by 2019 according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The forecast has come amid calls for the speed of trains on HS2 to be reduced to 300km/h. A new report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee says that "the Government should examine the scope for requiring a reduced maximum speed for the trains until electricity generation has been sufficiently decarbonised".