RMT research on rail fares

RMT research on rail fares

2 January 2019

RMT Press Office:

As protests take place today new RMT research shows rail fares rose almost 50% faster than inflation since privatisation with nearly half of passenger revenue going to foreign owned rail companies

As passengers return to work with news of yet another fare hike new RMT research has found that rail fares have risen almost 50% faster than inflation since privatisation.

The report also showed that of open access operators and franchises total passenger revenue* of £7.9 billion last year £3.8 billion went to foreign rail firms, who in turn made profits of at least £115 million in one year alone out of the British railway system[1].‎

The research was produced as rail workers and their supporters held protests at stations around the UK.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

“A quarter of a century of rail privatisation has seen rail fares rise significantly faster than inflation, which instead of improving British rail has been used to boost the coffers of foreign rail. Last year alone foreign rail firms made over a £100 million in profits on the backs of rail passengers in the UK.

“It is beyond comprehension that after a year of rail meltdown and passenger misery Chris Grayling has once again not lifted a finger to take action to curb fare rises and provide some relief to passengers. When a general election eventually does happen ministers will pay the price for this neglect at the ballot box.

“The government may not care about passengers, but rail workers do, and we will be out around the country today stepping up the campaign for public ownership.”



Notes for Editors
Rail fare protests are taking place at the following locations:
2nd January
Bristol Temple Meads times 7.30- 9.00
Cardiff Central times 7.30-9.00
Manchester Piccadilly times 7.30-9.00
Liverpool Lime Street times 7.30-9.00
Birmingham New Street 7.30 – 9.00
Doncaster 8:00 - 10:00.
Leeds times 8.00 – 10.00
Newcastle Central Station 8.00 - 9.00 .
Watford 8.00 am
Kings Cross 7.30 – 9.00
Birmingham Snow Hill 1600 - 1800
Whitehaven 7.30 - 09.30
Millom 16.00 - 18.00
Walsall 7.00 - 09.00
Lewisham 7.30-09.00
Hastings 16.30 - 18.30
Clapham Junction 16.30 – 18.00
Warrington 7.30-9.00
3 rd January
Edinburgh Waverley station - top of market street 9.00 -11.00 
Rail Fares Calculation
Rail and foreign ownership calculation
Using revenue of all part owned / fully owned foreign firms operating franchises and open access routes (out of a total passenger revenue of £7,969,000,000 (Source ORR Rail industry financials 2016/17 page 36 and 40) foreign firms (Source ORR) (see table below) have £3,837,000,000 as their share. A 3% profit margin on that much revenue is £115 million. Note the figures lost to foreign ownership is a conservative estimate as the figures does not include GTR (35% French owned) and London Overground (100% German state owned) as these two are management fee contracts, where revenues go to the government.
Contract / Route
Operator Owner name
Operator Owner - Country
Revenue (m)
Deutsche Bahn
German State Railways
Cross Country
Deutsche Bahn
German State Railways
Essex Thameside
Italian State Railways
Grand Central
Deutsche Bahn
German state railways
East Anglia
Abellio East Anglia Limited
Abellio 60% AND Mitsui 40%
Dutch State railways and Japanese firm
West Midland
West Midland Trains Operating as London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway
Abellio (70%)  JR East (15%)   Mitsui (15%)
Dutch state railways and two Japanese private firms
German state railways own Arriva
Dutch state railways own Abellio
South West
South West Trains
First MTR (comprising First Group and 30% MTR)
MTR is owned by the Chinese state.
South Eastern
South Eastern
Govia  (comprising of 59% Go- ahead and 50% Keolis)
French state railways owns Keolis,
Wales & Borders
(note new franchise began under Transport for Wales in October 2018. Services now run by Keolis Amey
Deutsche Bahn
German State Railways
Serco / Abellio 50% each
Dutch state railways own Abellio
EIL is owned by  SNCB (5%) and SNCF (55%) and other private investors who bought the UK Govt. stake
SNCB is the Belgian State railway and SNCF is the French State railway.
Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Airport Holdings
Heathrow Airport Holdings is a consortium, 41.88% of which is owned by the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore, China and Qatar. 
                                                                                                                                                     Total £3.837 billion
*Note the revenues lost to foreign ownership does not include GTR (35% French owned and revenue of £1.420 billion) and London Overground (100% German state owned and revenue of £222 million) as these two are management fee contracts, where revenues go to the Government/Transport for London.

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Tagged with: rail fares, chris grayling, privatisation, tory government