28th June 2013
- Transport for London government grant cut by £200m
- High Speed 2’s budget increases by nearly 20%
- London Overground to take over some Greater Anglia services
There were some significant transport announcements in this week’s spending review:
Boris Johnson welcomed a government commitment to long-term investment in Transport for London’s budget even as George Osborne announced a £200m cut in its grant. [Financial Times]
- Some Greater Anglia services are to be devolved to London Overground, whose Gospel Oak to Barking line will be electrified. [Transport Briefing]
- The government is also to “look at the case for” Crossrail 2 in London and give the mayor almost £9bn of capital spending and extra financing power by 2020. [BBC News]
The cost of building High Speed 2 has shot up by more than a fifth to almost £43bn, largely because of changes that aim to minimise disruption and environmental impact. [Financial Times]
- Conservative MPs vowed to continue to oppose the line, as a former Cabinet minister branded it a ‘boys’ toy’. [Daily Mail]
Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, described the coalition has the “most pro-rail government in modern history”, says a [Financial Times] analysis.
- [The Guardian] said the government’s spending review was “very much one for the motorists”.
Four bidders have made the shortlist to run the trains on Crossrail, including only two of the London-listed transport groups. [Financial Times]
- [Transport Briefing] has more detail.
The Office of Rail Regulation has set out plans to increase open access competition to franchised train operators. [Transport Briefing]
A vision for a “Canary Wharf of the railways” regenerating was unveiled this week for Old Oak Common, one of west London’s most deprived neighbourhoods, which would have a Crossrail / High Speed 2 interchange. [Evening Standard]
The Labour Party is stepping up its resistance to the privatisation of the East Coast rail line as the party hardens its stance against private train operators running all of the main intercity routes. [Financial Times]
- Stagecoach is poised to enter the race to run the east coast mainline train service when the UK government puts the route out to tender next year. [The Scotsman]
The Rail Delivery Group, the Department for Transport and rail franchise owning groups have begun discussions which could lead to train operating companies purchasing new trains directly rather than leasing them from rolling stock leasing companies. [Transport Briefing]
- Network Rail directors are in line for extra bonuses funded by the taxpayer worth £10million over the next three years. [The Times]
- Network Rail has outlined plans to spend £40m on improvements to the West Coast Main Line to try and resolve the poor performance which has attracted repeated criticism from Virgin Rail Group. [Transport Briefing]
Former ScotRail boss Mary Grant is returning to the transport sector with a senior role helping National Express bid for new rail franchises. [The Scotsman]
Stagecoach has said it is “fighting to protect” rail franchising, after Labour signalled last week that it was hardening its position on private companies running all Britain’s main railway routes. [Financial Times]
MTR, the operator of Hong Kong’s mass transit system, is looking to expand into the UK and Europe and lessen its dependence on its local market, a [Financial Times] feature reports.
FirstGroup yesterday completed its three-for-two rights issue, sending shares down but raising more than £600 million to shore up its balance sheet. [The Scotsman]
- FirstGroup has also gained regulatory approval to sell its London bus operations for £80 million. [The Scotsman]