Huge profits offset performance blip for Network Rail

Network Rail’s performance fell 2.5 per cent below its regulatory target between 2013/14 in a year in which investment in the UK rail network rose by £1.8 billion.

Widespread flooding at the start of 2014 was one of the main factors that impacted on the reliability of Britain’s rail infrastructure in the past year.

Passenger numbers have also increased at double the rate predicted in 2009. Between 2013/14, 1.6 billion people used the railway, an increase of 5.7 per cent. This figure is expected to rise by another 30 per cent in the next 10 years.

There was a substantial 86 per cent increase in post-tax profits to £1.3 billion as a result of accounting gains on hedging instruments and a tax credit of £221 million.

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “We are in the middle of a rail renaissance, with record levels of passenger numbers and record levels of investment. This flourishing sector is investing heavily to improve the railway for today and for tomorrow.

“With a million more trains on the network than 10 years ago, there are inevitable challenges – we are determined to do more to improve train reliability in the face of these challenges.

“We will increase the reliability of the network and make it more resilient to climate change. Continued investment in our railway will also be key if we are to grow our economy and deliver a better, improving, expanding rail network for millions of daily users.”

Capital expenditure rose from £5.05 billion to £6.87 billion in the past year. Revenue also increased slightly from £6.2 billion to £6.3 billion.

Net debt rose to just under £33 billion from £30.4 billion in 2012/13.