UK Rail Regulator Sets HS1 Operator Charge At GBP25.9 Million Per Year

(Alliance News) – The UK Office of Rail & Road on Tuesday set the charges for using the High Speed 1 rail line from London to the Channel Tunnel at GBP25.9 million per year. The UK rail and road regulator said the collective payment will go towards the long-term cost of keeping the line in good condition. The 67-mile track is owned by the UK government and operated by HS1 Ltd.

“The charges are increasing compared to their current level because costs in the future will be higher than now, as the line and its assets are getting older and need more work,” the regulator said. ORR noted, however, the charge is 32% per year less than what HS1 Ltd requested. The regulator continued: “ORR’s analysis has shown that the lower figure is sufficient to ensure the assets are sustained.

The reduction compared to HS1 Ltd’s proposals will benefit operators and hence passengers and freight users.” The charge aims to spread out costs over 40 years, which the ORR said should prevent price spikes in future years. ORR Chief Executive John Larkinson said: “High Speed 1 is a valuable public asset and our role is to provide independent assurance that the line will be kept in good condition over the long-term at the lowest possible cost.

This is important to make sure that train operators and, in turn, passengers and freight users get a good deal now but not at the expense of future generations.” The operators on HS1 are Eurostar, Deutshce Bahn’s rail freight unit DB Cargo UK, and Govia-owned London & South Eastern Railway Ltd, better known as Southeastern. Go-Ahead Group PLC owns 65% stake in Govia Thameslink Railways Ltd, while the remaining stake is owned by French company Keolis.

By Paul McGowan; paulmcgowan@alliancenews.com

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