Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Trains 'too costly' for rail firm

Train tickets
Taking the train could add 24,600 to the travel bill

Network Rail is transporting 200 staff by coach from Reading to Coventry for a conference because of the high cost of train tickets, it has emerged.

The rail operator has opted to shun train travel for road transport as it is more than £24,000 cheaper.

If open return tickets were bought for all the staff it could cost up to £27,000 - £135 each. But coach travel, at £12 a head, will cost just £2,400.

The firm said it made no apologies for getting the "best value" for taxpayers.

Network Rail said it looks at cheaper options for journeys as part of cost-cutting, as its workers do not get free travel or discounts.

A spokesman added: "Whilst we have no role in setting train fares, we use rail for the overwhelming number of business journeys.

"Occasionally, if there is a cheaper alternative, we will use that."

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