Report urges rail reforms

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REFORMS have been recommended for bank-owned leasing companies charging South Yorkshire rail firms millions of pounds each year in rent for trains which are decades old - while providing no new carriages for the area.

A review of the rail industry by transport expert Sir Roy McNulty for the Government has recommended a swathe of changes to provide better value for money for passengers.

Last month, The Star revealed Northern, which operates most of South Yorkshire’s services, has had no new trains since 1989 and many of its trains were failing to meet current safety standards, although modifications have now been carried out.

Unions say the firm is paying leasing companies, known as ROSCO, up to £100,000 a year to rent a two-carriage train - enough over five years to buy a new replacement.

Sir Roy said: “The Department for Transport should explore the possibility of establishing strategic partnerships with the ROSCOs to ensure that re-lease rates are demonstrably value for money.

“If that cannot be achieved, the DfT should consider introducing regulation of fair rates of return to the ROSCOs or, in the longer term, establishing new organisations to procure and hold rolling stock in the public interest.”