Lower rail funding could lead to serious accidents as well as fewer and more crowded trains, according to unions. A report drawn up by the TUC claims that safety would be ‘compromised’ if Network Rail goes ahead with a rumoured reduction in its workforce of 2,500 jobs, saving £100 million a year. The TUC has alleged that such a reduction would reduce safety, while it has also warned that Treasury budget cuts could reduce the number of trains which are run. Network Rail has denied that safety will be compromised and also said that its plans to modernise the industry had ‘fallen on deaf ears’.
Railway measures ‘social value’ with new tool
A new online tool to help the rail industry measure the social value of its investments, infrastructure projects and day-to-day operations has been launched. The Rail Social Value Tool, co-funded by Network Rail, is provided by the Rail Safety Standards Board and Loop (formerly Social Profit Calculator). The RSVT allows the rail industry to forecast, monitor and evaluate the social value of its activities by measuring the effects on the welfare and wellbeing of individual people and and also wider society. The indicators cover factors such as safety, jobs, air quality, biodiversity, educational benefits and the involvement of communities, including volunteers.