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Your Money: ANGER AT RAIL PROFIT.

Byline: EDITED by CLINTON MANNING

RAIL chiefs sparked a new "gravy train" row yesterday by revealing a 10 per cent leap in profits.

Stagecoach said its train division made pounds 48.6million in the year to May but it still plans to push up fares on South West Trains.

The group, which also runs 7,000 bus services in almost 100 towns and cities, made nearly pounds 137m, up pounds 16.5m. The news left union leaders livid and angered passengers.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Like all the privatised rail operators, Stagecoach are minting it at the public's expense. It's no wonder their profits are soaring. They get three times the subsidy that British Rail got - it's like winning the lottery every day."

He claimed South West Trains received pounds 92m in 2003-04 and the two Virgin operations, which Stagecoach owns half of, got more than pounds 500m.

Stagecoach said new trains and a revamped timetable had helped improve punctuality and reliability.

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BUSY: South West train
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2005
Words:170
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