About Open rail

Rail transparency – shining a light on how the rail industry is financed and how it is performing

Rail is a complex industry and its finances and operations are difficult to understand. Although 60% of rail finances come from fare-paying passengers, the industry still receives significant sums of public money. It provides a vital public service with significant social benefit. The people who pay for the railways, either passengers or taxpayers have a legitimate interest in getting better information about how their money is spent and how the industry performs.

Read more about the rail industry in Britain

Data transparency is also an important part of our work as the economic and safety regulator and helps us to hold the industry to account. We are working to improve the quantity and quality of information which the industry releases.

Who benefits and how

Customers

What they need:

  • Accurate information on journey times, punctuality and reliability
  • Clear information on fares and ticketing
  • Information on disruption to services and how they will be affected
  • Better understanding of their rights when things go wrong
  • Reassurance on the safety of the network
  • Disability rights and provision
  • What they can do about complaints that they feel Network Rail and the train operating companies haven't addressed properly.

How they benefit:

  • Able to plan their journeys better and make choices on cost and route
  • Know what to do when things go wrong and how they can gain recompense.

Train operating companies

What they need:

  • Clear data at a meaningful level on Network Rail performance and operations
  • Comparative information on how other operating companies are performing
  • Overall data on network usage

How they benefit:

  • Better ability to plan their businesses
  • Shared best practice across the sector
  • They can hold Network Rail to account more effectively

Governments

What they need:

  • Trend data on network usage by operators and passengers
  • Detailed information on Network Rail performance – both financial and operational
  • Information to make informed decisions on how public money is being spent and what it is delivering

How they benefit:

  • Better modelling of long term funding requirements and more effective monitoring and operation of franchises
  • Greater assurance over value for money from public subsidy
  • Better public accountability on performance and efficiency by Network Rail

Network Rail

What they need:

  • Trend data on network usage by operators and passengers
  • Objective information on performance and efficiency

How they benefit:

  • Better ability to plan their business more effectively
  • Reputational benefit from greater public accountability
  • Members and board are better equipped to hold the executive to account

Taxpayers

What they need:

  • Information on how public money is spent and the value for money it provides
  • Performance data on services funded by public subsidy

How they benefit:

  • Better able to hold governments to account for use of public money
  • More informed scrutiny of publicly funded service providers