Issue 02/2012

13th January 2012

In this issue:

High Speed 2 announcement

The construction of a high-speed rail link between London and the north is set to go ahead after the government approved the first stage of the £32.7bn project. Financial Times

  • Business leaders hailed the decision to give the go-ahead Financial Times
  • The government’s own calculations now considers the London to Birmingham section of HS2 to be “low” value for money. Financial Times

In other HS2 coverage:

  • ATOC described the decision as “a vote of confidence in the railways” press release
  • Before the announcement, Justine Greening gave an interview to the Sunday Times in which she said the high-speed rail link is just the start of her plan to overhaul Britain’s transport.
  • In a leading article the Sunday Times described the HS2 project as “folly”
  • The government has raised the prospect of double-decker trains coming to British tracks on the £32bn high speed rail network set to be approved this week. The Observer
  • Scottish transport minister Keith Brown has raised concerns that his country will not be considered in plans for a high-speed rail link with London for about 20 years. The Scotsman
  • The Economist writes that putting a new train line underground will not bury opposition to it

Industry news

FirstGroup has appointed Richard Parry from TfL to its rail franchise bid team, where he has been reunited with former boss Tim O’Toole.

This fortnight’s Signal Failures: Brian Souter’s knighthood, Labour’s franchising history, plans for barriers at Sheffield station again, relief after Lin Homer moves on from DfT Private Eye

Chiltern Railways says the number of passengers using its trains to travel between London and Birmingham has increased by 65% since the launch of Chiltern Mainline four months ago. Transport Briefing

London Mayor Boris Johnson has insisted that plans to extend the London Underground Northern line from Kennington to Battersea will not be affected by the demise of the latest developer of the Battersea Power Station site. Transport Briefing

Financial update

Problems unloading non-core businesses have slowed FirstGroup’s drive to reduce debts, with the public transport group blaming the weak economy and buyers’ nervousness over regulatory approval. Financial Times.

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.

For a full list of the Train Operating Companies held by each holding group, click here

Click here for other time periods