Issue 05/2013

1st February 2013

  • Legal action risk from National Express after DfT refuses to compensation Great Western bidders
  • Route map of High Speed 2 north of Birmingham unveiled
  • Rail users satisfied with service but find it expensive, says Passenger Focus
In this issue:

Main stories this week

The competition to run the Great Western rail franchise between south Wales and London is being scrapped. [BBC News]

  • National Express is considering legal action over the DfT’s refusal to compensate franchise bidders, says the [Financial Times], which also covers reaction from Stagecoach.
  • [The Times] reports concerns also voiced by Arriva.
  • The decision will cost the taxpayer at least £1 million in administrative costs, says the [Evening Standard].
  • The competition for franchises currently held by c2c and First Capital Connect were resumed, albeit with delays of up to two years. [DfT press release]

Details of the next phase of the £32bn High Speed Two network have been unveiled by the government. [BBC News]

  • A map has been published [here].
  • Work on the link’s Heathrow spur have been frozen pending an airport review due in 2015. [BBC News]
  • [The Herald] says new documents show the route in England that would have offered the most benefit to Scotland has been rejected in order to protect services to Lancashire.
  • Councillors in George Osborne‘s Tatton constituency hastily restracted claimed the chancellor himself ensured a detour of the line through the area. [Bucks Free Press]

The number of passengers satisfied with their rail journey is at a record high, Passenger Focus has found. [BBC News]

  • But fewer than half of rail passengers believe they get value for money. [Financial Times]

New rail services

The final plans for London Overground to take over Greater Anglia and Southeastern suburban services could be announced in April, Boris Johnson has said. [BBC News]

  • Background on this story available from an earlier [Transport Briefing] article from May 2012.

Other news

In a report that was not unanimous, the Transport committee said ministers were to blame for the West Coast rail fiasco, raising “serious questions” about the roles of ministers and civil servants at all levels. [Financial Times]

The government’s transport spokesman in the House of Lords has told peers he could not afford to buy the train fare from London to Birmingham. [BBC News]

The European Commission has unveiled its plans for EU-wide rail companies, with firewalls between infrastructure and operations units required before they can compete for passengers in other member states. [Financial Times] The plans could affect national companies like Deutsche Bahn and France’s SNCF.

Plans to run the Tube later on Friday and Saturday nights are being considered by London Underground. [BBC News]

  • But managing director Mike Brown said the Piccadilly line – relying on ‘ancient’ trains and signals – would not benefit. [The Independent]
  • Union bosses will demand pay rises for the later services and complained about not being consulted first. [Evening Standard]

Financial update and sharecheck

FirstGroup reported 8.1% revenue growth across its rail division in the fourth quarter of 2012 [press release], sending its share price upward. The group reported in late January that it is to sell its bus operations in Worcestershire. [BBC News]

Eurotunnel – which owns GB Railfreight – reported record revenues and traffic last year, boosted by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. [Financial Times]

National Express shares began to increase in late November following the appointment Sir John Armitt as its new chairman [Financial Times] and a surge in coach bookings in December following widespread threats of rail strike action. [Bus and Coach]

Stagecoach has purchased a number of bus companies from FirstGroup in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. [Transport Briefing]

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