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Facts Sheet 9: Rail versus road: Passenger Rolling Stock costs

  1. This note shows that the annual cost of passenger rail rolling stock is 3 to 4 times that of the equivalent motor coach.

  2. The annual costs of capital is here defined as that sum which if paid annually will repay capital plus interest, set at the Treasury Discount rate of 3.5%, over the lifetime of the vehicle.

  3. Railway carriages cost at least £1 million each and may have and have75 seats. Modern stock may last 30 years. The capital recovery factor is 0.054. Hence the annual cost of the capital is £54,400. Annual maintenance may set to 7.5% of capital providing £75,000. Hence the total is £129,400 annually or £1750 per seat per year

  4. A basic express coach with 50 seats may cost £150,000. The vehicle may last 21 years. 7 of which may be in "first use", 7 in "second use" and 7 in "third use" e.g. as a school bus. Against that background we will here assume a life of 15 years. As for rail we will also assume annual maintenance at 7.5% of capital although we have the range 2% to 12.5% from the industry. On that basis, and with interest again set at 3.5%, the annual cost per seat is £485 - 3.6 times less than for the railway carriage.

May 12th 2005

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