4th January 2013
- Peter Strachan becomes the biggest civil service casualty of the West Coast franchising crisis.
- Campaigners express fury at fare increases as rail bosses say they are not “profiteering”.
- Transport select committee warns against raising peak time fares to deter passengers.
Main stories this week
The West Coast rail bid fiasco has claimed its biggest civil service casualty with Peter Strachan‘s departure from the Department for Transport. [Daily Telegraph]
The Transport committee has called on ministers torule out a fresh shake-up of rail fares which would lead to even higher fares for commuters on peak-time trains. [Financial Times]
- The committee also claimed rail firms were “profiteering”. [Daily Mail]
- An analysis by the [Daily Mail] revealed the hidden share bonuses and company cars granted to senior rail bosses, who dispute claims they are profiteering on the back of disruption.
Commuters expressed fury after Norman Baker, the railways minister, said train fares were “not nearly as expensive” as presented by the media. [The Guardian]
- [The Times], which provides a detailed graphic of the increases, says a campaign is underway to halt them.
Other stories this week
Passengers travelling between Scotland and London will continue to face delays because Network Rail used cheap, unreliable parts when upgrading the UK’s busiest rail routes. [The Herald]
Writing in [The Times], former transport secretary Lord Adonis says the rail network risks repeating Dr Beeching’s mistakes.
The widespread support from northern cities and towns for High Speed 2 is fracturing over concerns some will be left on the slow track. [Financial Times]
A new rail freight terminal is to be built at a former aerodrome near St Albans. [BBC News]
Financial update and sharecheck
Bookings surged for National Express coach services in December following widespread threats of strike action. [Bus and Coach]
Stagecoach has increased profits in the last six months to December, citing good revenue growth in its UK rail division. [Rail.co]
FirstGroup executives have been rattled not just by the loss of the InterCity West Coast franchise but by its bus operations, says [Private Eye]. FirstGroup shares fell by more than a quarter after the franchise process was subsequently cancelled in late September.