Rail Spending 16bn+ / year - only 3% of Population
- only 5% of journeys 
- only10,000 miles of track
Road Spending 10bn / year - 100% of Population
- 90% of all journeys
- 245,000 miles of road

Short &
  • Rail spending is 1.5 x road spending at 14.8bn, rail only serves 3% of population, whilst road serves 100%. Rail spend is now a whopping 36p / mile against roads 3p / mile.

  • Rail passengers are subsidised 4bn / year and road taxes bring in 50bn / year.

  • Conclusion - Road users & tax payers are being taken for  an expensive ride.

  • You must be ****ing joking - that can't be right - What can I do about it?

  • Vote here for fair spending on roads - done - Thanks

Full Fat : The Facts
Rail spending now exceeds road spending by over 150%. Rail spending is now well past 'Are you sure?', right through 'That can't be right?' and is now deep into 'Holy crap!' Every tax payer is now subsiding the just 3% of the population that are rail users by 36p a mile (and that is before HS2 / HS3 / Crossrail 2), whereas every mile the rest of us drive on the road is costing us 13p. So who is getting a really bum deal here?

At this point every tax payer should be thinking, their is definitely something wrong here and then be saying 'I'm not having that - that is well unfair / undemocratic / really taking the p*ss - what are we going to do about it'. 

Good, now do something  - vote at asking at the very least for usage proportional spending on rail & road. At 100,000 votes they will debate it and we will have the answers ready. 

Then just to wake him / her / it up a bit, write to your MP and say what the f*** do you think you are doing? Do not let those self satisfied job's worth's carry on taking us for mugs.

Data Rail Spend Road Spend Road Taxes
Total 14.8bn 10bn 40bn
per mile 36p 3p 13p

The government will no doubt claim these figures are just a blip, but with Network Rail spending out of control, full scale HS2 just getting started and then HS3 and Crossrail 2 on the horizon and they have already committed to spending another 48bn on from 2019-24, the current rail spend of 36p / mile, cannot help but to stay well above road spending for the next 20 - 30 years.

And the 14.8bn spend is totally undemocratic, rail travel is used by only 3% of the population (10% of the working population), making just 5% of all journeys. The 10bn road budget has to serve 100% of the population that make up 90% of all journeys. The road budget has to maintain 245,000 miles of road, whereas the rail budget has to maintain just 10,000 miles of track, which goes to show that rail is a VERY expensive way of moving relatively few people about. Rail is borrowing 6 - 8bn a year, which it has no plans to pay back, so effectively the government is subsidising the rail industry 12bn a year.

And for road users it gets worse, the government is clamping down hard on road spending and local councils are saying that due to budget cuts clogged / unsafe roads and junctions, might have to wait 10 years or more before they are dealt with.


The Department for Transport will respond by saying 'we do not recognise this figure', but that will not get them far, because we used their figures, then the Government and the rail lobby (big business and the unions) will go into full denial / 'won't somebody think of the children' mode and we as the Tax Payers have to be ready with answers :-

G - The rail industry has been historically under funded.
TP- Annually in proportion to 3% rail usage, it has been funded more than road for 20 years.
The government has been 'anti road' since the 90's and no extra road investment has been sanctioned and as such road spending has hardly risen from it's present figure of  8-10bn since the mid 90's (road taxes have nearly doubled). The rail subsidy  has risen on average and is currently 600% higher than in the mid 90's (0.7bn to 4.2bn) and loans (hidden subsidy) will stay at 8bn or more for at least a generation.

G- 7.5bn of the 14.8bn is loan and cannot be taken as 'spend'

TP- The rail industry has not made a profit since the mid 50's, so unless it wins about 70 lotteries a year ...

G- We have cancelled / postponed several rail projects and so the loan will be lower next year

TP- The DfT may have cancelled several projects as they were out of control, but it then announces 48bn of spending between 2019-24, which is 9.6bn / year and so the rail spend will continue to up to around 50p / passenger mile.

G- 1.9bn of the 14.8bn is VAT relief and all public transport gets VAT relief'

TP- This is just a comparison between road & rail, road gets no relief and road users even have to pay VAT on top of fuel duty ...

G- The rail industry will start paying off it's loan
TP- How? It's main income is passenger fares and it would not dare put them up as even with a 4bn annual subsidy, the UK has fares are 30% higher than comparable European countries.

G- The railways are public infrastructure and provide a valuable service

TP- The roads are public infrastructure and provide an EVEN more valuable service to the WHOLE country, not just 3%, roads move people and freight at a fraction of the cost of rail, even when taxed at 13p / mile

G- We have to subsidise rail so that people can afford to get to work 

TP- Except that nearly 60% of rail fares spending is by the richest 20 per cent of households

G- We have to subsidise rail, it is the only way people can get to work in the centre of cities 

TP- Replace railways with busways, reports have shown that they would carry more people with at least 40% lower fares and the bus drivers will even close the doors, help with heavy luggage, steer the bus and all for a lot less that 90,000 a year 


G- But rail is green and cars / vans / buses / lorries are 'dirty'

TP- Only less than 50% of the rail system is electric and the other half is diesel, some of which are 50 years old 

G- But when rail is all electric it will actually be green

TP- With a 1.9bn overspend on electrifying the Great Western, the government has cancelled all electrification projects and then  bought diesel / electric hybrids 

G- But eventually, when rail is all electric it will be green, buses run on diesel 

TP- Most buses currently run on diesel, but they could easily change to hydrogen or hydrogen fuel cell = zero pollution

G- But the roads are full, we need to get more people off the roads 

TP- The roads are congested, but they are badly managed and traffic jams are costing the country 9bn a year

  • Stop making out that drivers to the 'bad guys' and using that as an excuse to milk us for 34bn every year and saying that higher road usage taxing will reduce congestion, get it in to your thick heads that nobody with a choice drives in rush hour, people with a choice have another coffee and wait till the traffic dies down.

  • Stop making such as fuss about breakdowns and minor repairs with miles of cones and closing multiple lanes, countries like Japan and Germany close one lane, place a vehicle 100m back with lots of flashing lights and get on with it.  

  • Provide free parking places at all motorway junctions (as in Germany) so people can meet up and carry on in one car 

  • Provide free parking places at key junctions in cities, so that car sharing is made easier

  • Put more money into road works to provide 24 hour and weekend working.

  • Put recording camera's on all main motorways, so that serious / fatal crashes can be cleared quicker and not turned into 2 day crime scenes, use intelligent camera software to spot non movement of cars and signal operator

  • On congested motorways have dedicated light / heavy breakdown trucks, waiting on all junctions, with the same crash protection system as maintenance trucks, so that they can drive down motorways the wrong way on hard shoulder.

  • Change the four lane continuous upgrade approach to 1 mile before / after junctions as that is where the congestion occurs

  •  With 4 lanes at at junctions, signal non exiting lorries / slow moving traffic into lane 2 and allow undertaking at speed in lane 1  for exiting traffic

  • Give lorries a graduated speed difference based on load weight, at present anything over 7.5tonnes is stuck at 56mph and the roads are blocked with lorries passing with only 0.5mph speed difference and taking a mile to manage it.

  • Public transport is useful, but it no good for tradesmen, van drivers, service engineers in fact any body with kit heavier than a laptop. It also tends to be radial from the town centres, but most factories and some offices have moved out from the town centres to edge of / out of town distributed industrial estates to expand and / or save money, so public transport is no solution.

  • The only major new motorway built in the past 20 years is M6 toll road, which at 6 a go hardly anybody uses it, wonder why?

G- We need tax payers to outguess the government response ???

TP- So if you have an response (excuse) that the government will come up or an answer then please get in touch 



Data (Period 2016 - 17)

The data below is from government sources, but we had to do a bit of ferreting to get it all together, wonder why that was?.

Rail spending is pretty complicated to tie down, as it is made up of subsidies, loans and tax relief (all paid for by the tax payer), but can be broken down for 2017 as:-
Direct Subsidy  4bn
HS2 + Crossrail  0.8bn
Loan 7.5bn
Loan Interest - on 18.7bn @ 3.5% 0.7bn
VAT Relief @ 20% on 9.5bn ticket sales 1.8bn
Total 14.8bn
Rail Miles / year 41bn
Rail Spend / mile 14.8 / 41 = 36p

Road spending has been about constant for the last 10 years, but as usual the tax has gone up year by year 
Road Spending 10bn
Direct Taxes - Fuel Duty & VED 34bn
Indirect Taxes - Insurance tax & VAT 15bn
Road miles / year 311bn
Road tax / mile 40 / 311 = 13p
Road spend / mile 10 / 311 =  3p

Write to your MP

OK asking your MP 'what the f*** do you think you are doing with respect to rail spending' might be considered a little over the top. So just copy the text below and go to Write to Them, enter your postcode, select your MP, paste in the text, enter your details and job done, 2 minutes max. 


As a road user and a tax payer, I feel strongly that the rail to road spending disparity is out of control and undemocratic in that we are paying through the nose to drive OUR cars / vans lorries on OUR poorly maintained roads with little investment, whilst the massively over subsidising an inefficient & costly rail system.

The ratio of rail to road spend is now totally out of proportion to usage, with rail spend at 150% of road spend with only 3% of the population using rail, I would ask that this ratio is corrected immediately and that rail spending is reduced in line with the ratio of rail to road users.