13th June 2013

  • ORR introduces plans for Network Rail punctuality target
  • DOR files preparatory paperwork for Great Western takeover
  • Overhead lines appear for Edinburgh Tram
In this issue:

Main stories this week

The Office of Rail Regulation is to impose a minimum punctuality target for the first time, amid growing concern about Network Rail’s performance during the past year. [Financial Times]

  • [BBC News] has the same story.
  • The rail regulator has found Britain’s railways much less efficient than Europe’s. We need greater accountability for Network Rail, says a leader in [The Times]

The government has denied claims that franchise extension talks with FirstGroup over the Great Western rail franchise are in trouble after the state-owned Directly Operated Railways filed preparatory paperwork to take over the line. [The Guardian]

New services

Work is set to begin on installing overhead and underground cables for Edinburgh’s trams. [BBC News]

Calls to establish a twice daily Virgin Trains service from Shropshire to London have been made in the Commons. [BBC News]

London’s transport budget faces potentially “catastrophic” cuts in the government spending review, putting at risk the multibillion pound upgrade of the city’s Tube network, transport and business leaders have warned. [Financial Times]

  • In a ‘2020 vision’ for London, Boris Johnson called for greater financial autonomy, more investment in transport and the right for councils to borrow to build new homes in the city. [The Guardian]

Other stories this week

Journey times on two of Britain’s key railway lines could be cut under industry plans to overhaul the network’s ageing signalling system, reports the [Daily Telegraph]. But the plans, which passenger groups fear will be funded by above inflation fare rises, could be scuppered by the threat of a national rail strike by the signallers’ union, RMT.

[The Times] has a story about the 7.42 First Great Western service from Henley-on-Thames to London Paddington, which has “an unfortunate claim to fame: officially the most crowded train service in Britain”.

The private finance initiative order for new Thameslink trains is running so late “even the National Audit Office has woken up to the delay”, says [Private Eye]

Company news

The Dutch national railway, the parent company of Abellio, have cancelled a €336m contract for highspeed Amsterdam-Brussels trains and will demand that the Italian manufacturer return the money it has already been paid. [Financial Times]