Network Rail's half year results show a £747m pre-tax profit, which will be reinvested into the railway

Network Rail, the not-for-profit firm that runs the UK’s railway tracks and signals, has made a profit for the first time since it was set up four years ago. It’s interim results for the six months to 30 September show a pre-tax profit of £747m.

The results contrast with a £108m loss last year.

The profits, which do not have to be distributed to shareholders, will be used to reduce debt and re-invest in the railway.

Network rail also announced that more than £1bn has been slashed from the costs of running the railway infrastructure in the past two-and-a-half years.

The results also showed capital expenditure was at £1.5bn, up by almost £100m against last year. Income was £2.9bn compared with £1.9bn for same period last year, while debt reduced to £17.9bn from £18.2bn at 31 March 2006.

Chairman Ian McAllister said: "Rail is a success story. Train punctuality is at a seven year high, passenger numbers are at levels not seen for almost 50 years, travelling by train is the safest it has ever been and passenger satisfaction with the service we, and the train operators provide, is at an all time high. Network Rail is delivering across the board, but we know we have to do even more.

"We must respond now to the challenge of accommodating the growth predicted in the years ahead. The need to boost capacity on the network is clear, and Network Rail will play its part in making this happen.