Can someone explain how the Government, Network Rail and the ToC’s work with paying the drivers?
Struggling to work out how it’s all funded.
Presumably the ToC’s pay the drivers wages? Are these subsidised by the Government/Network Rail?
The Train operating Companies run the trains.They are Governement owned, the Govt pay them a set fee to run the trains, so there is a small bit of privatisation to it still, but, only a very small part. The TOCs pay Network Rail (owned by the Government) to run the trains on NRs tracks. NR own most of the infrastructure, some stations are ran by the TOCs, some by NR. The vast bulk of Staff working and servicing the infrastructure are employed, or sub contracted to NR. The TOCs employ drivers, Guards, catering Staff and some station staff. Most TOCs run at a loss. There are maybe 5 that ran a profit before Covid, maybe only 2 or 3 are back in profit now.
Most passenger TOCs employ their own Drivers. This is what caused the wage inflation for Drivers in the late 90’s. Before that, drivers were not a well paid bunch, and all were employed by British Rail, but Virgin, and Cross-Country needed a lot more drivers, so advertised at far better rates, and it has continued until now, in that the higher paying TOCs take Drivers from the lower paying Companies, who then have difficulty getting new Staff (it really isnt a great job for some TOCs), so have to increase their wages.
So, yes, the TOCs pay the Drivers wages. But, now, all of the TOCs are Government owned, and ran by the Dept. for Transport, via the TOCs. And the DfT dont want to give a large pay award,or else everyone will want a big pay rise if the Rail workers get one (it isnt just Drivers).
Subsidies. Yes, there are lots. And none of it is clear. An estimate is whatever is coming in through fares is matched by Government subsidy. The latest ‘High Level Output Specification’ came out in December. This is what the Government will allow the Railway to spend in the next 5 years.It was the worst report for 20+ years, or, since it was introduced. No key points that need to be done, no aims to improve services etc, it was just a ‘this is what you’re geting’. The DfT have lost the plot, and it has been left to the Railway to sort out what is going to be a priority. This is both a good and bad thing. The Office for Rail Regulation oversees what Netwrok Rail do. NR have recently had to be told off for denying access to extra trains in Cheshire. But surely that is their job – get more traffic on the railway, and get more income? On the other hand, they could get some quality small electrificiation schemes done that would allow a lot of diesel engines to be taken off the network, but, they dont seem at all interested in actually doing that work.
Its a malaise coming from the Government. The Govt. cant be arsed doing something, so pass the buck, and NR cant be bothered sorting it either, so the Public are left with the worst of both worlds.