17th May 2013

  • Government defends High Speed 2 aganist Audit criticism
  • National Express given c2c extension of up to two years
  • Rail minister ‘misled’ parliament over East Coast premiums
In this issue:

Main stories

The Government came out fighting this week as it defended plans for the High Speed 2 railway, insisting it was necessary to help the UK compete in the “global race” against other economies. [The Times]

  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin hit out at “fretting bean counters” today as he rejected spending watchdogs’ criticism of plans for the new high-speed rail line. [Evening Standard]
  • The response comes after the National Audit Office warned the economic benefits of the HS2 high-speed rail project are “unclear”. [BBC News]
  • Three quarters of families who live near the Government’s planned high speed rail link and applied for hardship compensation have been rejected, figures showed. [Evening Standard]

National Express has been awarded a new contract to continue running c2c services until September 2014, with the option to extend until April the following year. [The Times]

ORR data appear to confirm an RMT union claim that rail minister Simon Burns “deliberately misled” parliament when he justified East Coast’s privatisation by arguing its premium payments were lower than those paid by Virgin Trains. [Railway Eye]

  • [Private Eye]’s Signal Failures feature looks at the Department for Transport‘s forthcoming spend on consultants.

New rail services

A public consultation has begun for London’s Crossrail 2 line, with routes considered from Wimbledon in south-west London to Alexandra Palace in the north, or Alexandra Palace and Hertfordshire to south-west London and Surrey. [BBC News]

  • [Railnews] has some more detail on the consultation, which is being run jointly by Transport for London and Network Rail.

Other stories this week

Boris Johnson has warned that threatened cuts to Transport for London’s transport budget in the chancellor’s June spending review pose an “insane” risk to the capital’s economy. [Financial Times]

Merseytravel‘s purchase of a smartcard company described by then chief executive Neil Scales as “a sound investment” has delivered “little tangible benefit”, an internal audit has found. [Liverpool Daily Post]

Cycle policy on Britain’s railways shows that things are not looking up for cyclists. [Private Eye]

Finance and people

Former airline boss Clare Hollingsworth is to succeed Richard Brown as chairman of Eurostar from July 2013. [Transport Briefing]

Serco said it is on track to meet expectations for the 2013 financial year, in a trading update ahead of its annual general meeting. [Daily Post]

The chief executive of Stobart Group has expressed confidence that the Cumbria-base haulier had moved on from its boardroom coup and countercoup, as solid half-year results lifted its shares. [Financial Times]