Operating Expenditure (OpEx)

Proposals for new train services, lines, or stations will all come with an associated ongoing cost to operate and maintain them. It is important that these costs are estimated early on so that there is a clear understanding of the potential scale of the profit or subsidy that would emerge relative to the estimated commercial returns from ticket sales and similar income.

Operating and maintenance costs are generally referred to as ‘Operational Expenditure’ or ‘OpEx’.

You can download this document to get advice on how to start build estimates for the operating costs of your proposals.

The short video below helps to explain how to use the advice in the document.

The Operating Expenditure tool

Download the transcript

Where to get further information

Much of the data on the costs of operating railways and other guided transport systems in the UK remains commercially confidential to the franchise holders and concessionaires involved. DfT and Network Rail have access to generalised costs that can assist in the scoping of operating and maintenance costs for proposals that have reached a clear stage of definition.

You should already have completed the earlier stages in the Better Value Rail toolkit and have a good idea of the scope of your project before using this tool.

If you are already working with a Network Rail Sponsor you can ask them about access to additional advice.

Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions

While we make every effort to ensure that the content of this tool is accurate, this is not always achievable and therefore the data provided through this tool is provided without any guarantees, conditions or warranties as to its accuracy. Any cost ranges that are provided through the use of this tool are meant for indicative purposes and should not be used as any form of estimate.

Specific terms and conditions:

The Standard Terms and Conditions written below manage the use of this OPEX Tool as part of the Better Value Railway suite of tools. These terms will be applied fully and affect your use of this tool. By using the tool you agree to accept all terms and conditions written here. You must not use the tool if you disagree with any of these Standard Terms and Conditions.

Information Usage

  • Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
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You are restricted from undertaking all of the following:

  • Publishing any of the information held in this tool in any other media
  • Using the information in this tool in any way that may be damaging to this tool, person or business entity
  • Engaging in any data mining, data harvesting, data extracting or any other similar activity in relation to this tool
  • No Cost or range of costs that this tool provides are to be used as an estimate in any form
  • The cost or range of costs that this tool provides are outline and it is important that any cost information utilised for the development of proposition or business case is validated by Network Rail prior to its use.

If you act in breach of these terms of use, your right to use this tool will cease immediately and you must, at our option, return or destroy any copies of the data you have made.

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In no event shall Network Rail, Office of Rail and Road, Department of Transport, nor any of their officers, directors, or any employees, be held liable for anything arising out of or in any way connected with your use of this Tool whether such liability is under contract, nor shall they be held liable for any indirect, consequential or special liability arising out of or in any way related to your use of the tool

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Your use of this tool and any dispute arising out of such use of the tool is subject to the laws of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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