The ‘considerable’ increase in private investment within the rail sector has been described as “very positive.”
Statistics from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) reveal that the rail industry has benefited from £1.3 billion worth of private investment between 2017-18, which represents the highest figure in the last decade.
In particular, funding from the private sector has been pumped into rolling stock, which is something that should benefit passengers in the long term – an area that the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has targeted in its Autumn Budget submission.
Over the last year, private investment in the rail industry has jumped by almost £400 million and the RIA is pleased that these levels are rising.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Association, said: “It is very positive to see the levels of private investment in the UK rail network increasing to £1.3 billion, a considerable increase over the past decade.
“These figures show that the private sector is ready to provide finance to improve services, ultimately benefiting passengers and freight, whilst lessening the burden on taxpayers too.”
However, the industry needs to see greater third party investment in infrastructure, according to the RIA; with passenger numbers increasing and the needs for businesses to travel all over the country continuing to rise, the network’s infrastructure has to be in place to cope with demand.
And Darren Caplan, has urged the industry to target this area.
“It has been more than a year since Prof. Hansford published his independent review into contestability on the UK railways.
“Whilst there has been welcome progress on a number of his recommendations, there is still considerable room for more third party financing into infrastructure.
“We urge Network Rail and the Department for Transport to continue its work in simplifying business cases, increasing collaboration and working with the supply chain, who stand ready to finance and deliver much needed projects on the network.”