Rail chiefs expect annual £1bn energy bill

Network Rail expects its annual energy bill to exceed £1 billion for the first time.

Handout photo issued by Network Rail of flooded railway tracks at Audenshaw in east Manchester. Network Rail said it was forced to close the line in Audenshaw, east Manchester at around 2am on Thursday due to a burst water main. Trains are prevented from running in either direction between Manchester Piccadilly, Rose Hill and Hadfield, as well as Stalybridge and Leeds via Guide Bridge. Picture date: Thursday September 1, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story RAIL Water. Photo credit should read: Network Rail/PA Wire 

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Handout photo issued by Network Rail of flooded railway tracks at Audenshaw in east Manchester. Network Rail said it was forced to close the line in Audenshaw, east Manchester at around 2am on Thursday due to a burst water main. Trains are prevented from running in either direction between Manchester Piccadilly, Rose Hill and Hadfield, as well as Stalybridge and Leeds via Guide Bridge. Picture date: Thursday September 1, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story RAIL Water. Photo credit should read: Network Rail/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Network Rail expects its annual energy bill to exceed £1 billion for the first time.

The Government-owned company said it is anticipating that the energy crisis means the cost of traction - supplying electricity to trains - will soar from £595 million in the current financial year to £885 million in 2023/24.

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When combined with non-traction electricity and gas, Network Rail is forecasting that its annual energy bill will reach £1.02 billion in 2023/24, up from £670 million in the current financial year.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: "The surge in energy prices will inevitably have an impact on all businesses and individuals, and the railway is no different.

"Based on the market today, we would expect the railway's operating costs, relating to energy, to increase from £670 million this year to just over £1 billion in 2023/24."

In October last year, some freight train operators stopped using electric locomotives and switched to diesel ones after a three-fold rise in the cost of electricity.

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The Department for Transport announced last month that next year's increase in regulated fares in England will be below July's Retail Prices Index measure of inflation, which was 12.3%.

It also stated that the rise will not be implemented until March.

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Wales usually makes similar fare changes to England, while the Scottish Government has not announced its plans for 2023.