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European benchmarking of the costs, performance and revenues of train operations

Following its work for Sir Roy McNulty's Value for Money study, civity was commissioned to undertake a more in-depth analysis of train operations, focusing on train staff cost and rolling stock.

The project compared a group of 17 operators from seven Western European countries who worked together with civity to collect and interpret a range of information on the cost, revenues and outputs of their organisations.

The study helps to position each peer group member with respect to their total costs and revenues per train or passenger kilometre, together with an elaboration of the underlying cost drivers such as drivers’ productivity, fleet structures and performance.

The results unveil significant cost differences in all service segments (commuter, regional and long distance services). For example, depending on factors such as available working hours and productive use of staff hours, train drivers’ costs vary by a factor of 2-3 per train hour. Also the mix of income from state funding and farebox revenues is quite different between countries and the UK is shown to be the country with the highest share of user financing and highest farebox revenues per passenger kilometre.

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