6th January 2012
The Department of Transport has invited expressions of interest in running the new Thameslink, Essex Thameside and Great Western rail franchises. The franchises are currently held by First Capital Connect, c2c and First Great Western respectively. Rail.co
The Southern and Thameslink franchises are to be fully merged between 2014 and 2017. Transport Briefing
Several European rail giants are reported as posturing to enter the UK market:
- Spanish media says state-owned train operator Renfe could enter into a partnership with National Express Group to bid for a range of forthcoming UK rail franchises. Transport Briefing
- New Transit reports Renfe had been rumoured to buy the Go-Ahead Group, which would have been “a highly expensive mistake”.
- New Transit also speculates Keolis could be the target of a tie-up with Veolia.
The National Audit Office has said the Department for Transport has made a reasonable job of making huge budget reductions, but still lacks a long-term strategy. The Guardian
Neil Scales is to leave his job as Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel after almost fifteen years with the organisation. Merseytravel
A Northern Rail Executive – similar to existing Merseytravel – could be handed responsibility for upgrading rail services across the north of England. Transport Briefing
Transport for London has published figures showing that London Underground carried the highest number of passengers in its history during December 2011. Transport Briefing
Network Rail has urged the European Commission to intervene in regulating scrap metal dealers. Financial Times
The Scottish government has committed £50m in funding to secure ScotRail sleeper train services, matching the UK government’s investment. BBC News
The government spends more money on transport projects for Londoners than on those for the rest of the country combined, a think tank has said. BBC News
Legislation which could give Transport for London greater powers to sell land has been debated in the House of Lords for the first time. BBC News
High Speed 2 received support from two prominent groupings:
- Trade union leaders have given rare backing to the government by urging the approval of plans for a £32bn high speed rail network. The Guardian
- Construction of HS2 should start as soon as possible to help boost the UK’s construction industry and strengthen the country’s ageing infrastructure, according to a group of leading economists. Financial Times
National Express says it is in “excellent shape” and on track to report 2011 results in line with forecasts. This is Money
Holding group sharecheck
Shares in Stagecoach dropped significantly at the beginning of October after the group decided to pay out a £340m dividend to its shareholders and lost a proporition of its value as a consequence.
FirstGroup shares ralied in early November on the publication of its latest results.
Shares in the Go-Ahead Group rose by almost 5 per cent after the operator of UK trains and buses raised full-year operating profit forecasts on the back of strong passenger growth at its rail franchises. Financial Times