A study has revealed that Britain’s railways are the worst in Europe when it comes to affordability, efficiency and speed.
The union-commissioned report by think-tank Just Economics has revealed that the network trails behind countries including France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Research found that the only area the UK performed better than the listed countries was for the frequency of trains.
In the UK a season ticket costs around 14p per kilometre whereas 8p per kilometre in Germany, France and Holland, which are the second most expensive countries.
In Britain day return tickets cost around 26p per kilometre and are almost twice as expensive when compared to the second most expensive country Switzerland where it costs 15p.
The report revealed that only Spain’s trains are more crowded than the UK’s in terms of ratio of passengers to seats.
According to the report: “In terms of bang for buck, not only does the UK come bottom of the index of outcomes but it also spends a relatively large amount of money to achieve this woeful result. This means that it also comes bottom of the value for money league.
“Our under-performing railways carry a considerable cost both for passengers and for the public purse.
“Our calculations show that a more affordable, more comfortable and faster railway would generate a staggering £324billion in social value (£9.2billion a year) between now and 2050. This is the equivalent of £7 of value per average journey in that period”.
Eilis Lawlor, the reports author said: “Our research puts figures on what anyone who has been to France or Spain already knows – the UK’s railways are poor value for money.
“The Government should act decisively and make an objective and transparent assessment of the best way to organise Britain’s railways so as to maximise social, environmental and economic value”.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “We will shortly announce plans which will deliver a better value railway for the benefit of passengers, taxpayers and the wider economy. We hope unions will work with us on this”.