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British Rail

Volume 122: debated on Tuesday 10 November 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ask the chairman of British Rail for an annual report showing for each region the number of instances of engine failure.

We monitor the general reliability of British Rail's passenger services. But the particular causes of cancellation or late running are operational matters for the board.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each year since 1970, at 1970 prices (a) total capital expenditure approved for British Rail and (b) total capital expenditure for electrification of British Rail services.

Figures for investment (on revenue and capital account) in the railway are not readily available before 1974. Corporate investment includes investment in the subsidiary businesses at the time: ownership of these businesses has changed in some cases. Figures for investment in electrification exclude rolling stock. The figures are:

Capital and revenue account corporate investment by the British Railways Board is as follows:
(£ million at 1970 prices)
YearTotal BRB investmentRailway investmentInvestment in electrification
1970792·5
1971857·8
19729210·8
1973976·4
197486762·2
197593815·0
197694763·2
197789751·9
197891723·1
197998743·5
198091773·1
198175642·6
198261531·8
198360522·0
11984–8583773·6
1985–86807311·8
1986–87777112·8
1 15-month accounting period.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the annual central Government subsidy to British Rail in each of the past 15 years; and if he will express these figures as a percentage of the total expenditure of British Rail in each year.

Figures for Government support for British Rail since 1972, in cash and expressed as a percentage of rail operating expenditure, are as follows.The present grant system began in 1975, and figures for earlier years are not comparable. Figures for 1972 to 1974 include grants for unremunerative passenger services under section 39 of the Transport Act 1968, surplus track grants under section 40 of the 1968 Act, and revenue deficit grants. From 1975 they include grant in compensation for the public service obligation under EEC regulation 1191/69 and section 3 of the Railways Act 1974, level crossings grant under EC regulation 1192/69, and grants in respect of the non-passenger railway from 1975 to 1978.Figures are taken from final grant claims and from the BRB annual report and accounts. 1984/85 is a 15-month period reflecting a change in the British Railways Board's financial year. The figures for 1985/86 and 1986/87 remain provisional; final claims have not yet been agreed. All figures are cash.

Grant (£ million)Per cent. of Rail expenditure
1972127·020
1973136·420
1974354·740
1975369·732
1976348·528
1977397·828
1978410·225
1979498·126
1980591·426
1981766·631
1982835·633
1983873·032
1984–851,088·931
1985–86839·729
1986–87733·426