Mr Redwood’s contribution to the statement on Rail Investment, 16 July

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Over the past two years Network Rail has announced losses of £344 million on its very large derivatives book, so would not a better way of spending that money be to have a national programme to replace dangerous level crossings with bridges and underpasses—and could that start in Wokingham, please?

The Secretary of State for Transport (Justine Greening): My right hon. Friend raises an important point about passenger safety. In fact, the railways are one of the safest modes of travel we have. We have announced £65 million today to see continued improvement in level crossings. I would be very happy to meet him to hear his concerns about his local station, and I am sure that Network Rail, which takes the decisions, will also be interested to hear those concerns.


  1. Alan Wheatley
    July 17, 2012

    I note the Secretary of State had nothing to say with respect to the derivatives!

  2. Paul Withrington
    August 14, 2012

    Government subsidy is counted as income. Hence the posted losses are a red herring. Over the past decade operating plus capital grant has averaged nearly £5 billion per year. On top of that bank loans now amount to £27 billion. Since those can never be repaid from the fare box it will be taxpayers who pick up the tab. To allow for that we add £1.8 billion to the £5 billion and get an annual subsidy of £6.8 billion. (£1.8 billion is 27 billion divided by e.g. 15 years, a guess at the time taken to accrue the loans). The £6.8 billion at is equivalent to:
    (1) £260 in taxes for every household in the land
    (2) £345,000 per track-mile
    (3) 20 pence per passenger-mile, or if tonnes and passengers are added , 14 pence per mile.

    That at a time when nearly half of us use a train less than once a year, and when the Motorway and Trunk Road system makes huge profits for the exchequer and when that system is used nearly three times as intensively, per lane-mile as is the railway per track-mile.

    Our evidence on the Future of Rail to the Transport Committee may interest:

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