Operational revenues at Irish Rail more than halved to €143.6m last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact.

That is according to the 2020 annual report which shows that Irish Rail recorded a pre-tax surplus of €2.47m for 2020.

This represents a 40% drop on the pre-tax surplus of €4.16m for 2019.

However, the State owned rail operator only recorded the 2020 surplus after its State funding increased by 64% from €230m in 2019 to €378m last year.

The rail company's operational revenues declined by 52% or €153.9m from €297.38m to €143.67m.

The accounts show that Irish Rail’s income from Public Service Obligation contracts increased by 128% from €88.7m to €202.34m while State Exchequer funding rose 23% from €142.9m to €176.12m.

Underscoring the Covid-19 impact on the company, the number of passenger journeys last year totaled 17.9m - a 64% decrease on the record 50.1m passenger journeys.

A note attached to the accounts states that Irish Rail is to record a loss on its commercial business this year but predicted to return to profit next year under that heading.

The note addressing the Covid-19 impact says that there will be a significant shortfall in passenger revenue in 2021 which will require additional funding from the National Transport Authority (NTA) similar to that provided in 2020.

The note states: "It is anticipated that passenger journeys will recover somewhat in 2022 with continued support required from Exchequer funding to meet revenue shortfalls."

Irish Rail generates its revenues from a number of streams - Rosslare Europort, infrastructure, freight, third party and rail revenues.

On the Covid-19 impact, Irish Rail's rail revenues last year declined by 58% from €248.22m to €103.6m.

Numbers employed by Irish Rail last year increased from 4,009 to 4,135 as gross staff costs increased from €281m to €295m.

Irish Rail last year received €14.59m in the Government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme.

The pay to Irish Rail chief executive, Jim Meade, remained at the same level of €225,000.

Pay to key management personnel increased from €1.97m to €2.06m.

The numbers earning €100,000 at Irish Rail last year increased from 87 to 100 and that included 19 earning between €125,000 and €150,000 and 14 earning over €150,000.

In his report, Mr Meade stated: "It must be stressed that the financial sustainability of the business in 2020, would not have been possible without the continued additional financial support from the NTA and the Department of Transport."