2nd March 2012In this issue:
Industry developments this week
The turnaround of National Express is “nearing completion”, the Financial Times says, after reporting pre-tax profits of £180.2m.
- The FT says “pricing future rail profits into a transport group’s share price is a dangerous game” in a comment piece (attached to the above article).
Network Rail admitted in court to health and safety breaches over the Grayrigg crash in Cumbria, facing an unlimited fine. BBC News
Boris Johnson has pledged to introduce driverless trains on the London Underground to prevent transport unions holding the capital to ransom with “pointless” drivers’ strikes. Daily Telegraph
- A column in The Guardian examines the detail of the pledge and concludes it is “one of those transport promises you shouldn’t trust”.
A radical overhaul of Network Rail’s governance structure, including a sharp reduction in the number of its members, is being planned. The Sunday Times
Management of Gatwick Airportrailway station has switched to Southern from Network Rail. RailStaff
Formal notices to shut Watford London Underground station have been published as part of the Croxley Rail Link project. Transport Briefing
First TransPennine Express and London Midland are to get 40 extra carriages each next year to cut crowding. BBC News
Other stories in the press
Greater Anglia is to have more on-board security staff on its train services than its National Express predecessor. BBC News
The Scottish and UKgovernments are to work together to extend High Speed Two to Scotland. The Herald
Siemens has warned any bias against non-UK bidders in the upcoming Crossrail train contract will have damaging consequences for British business. The Guardian
Edinburgh‘s tram system is expected to be used by about half the passengers originally forecast after its route was cut to save money, new figures suggest. BBC News
Holding group sharecheck
Stagecoach extended its lead over FirstGroup as Scotland’s largest transport group by market value after showing strong growth in its rail business. The Herald
Profits at National Express for 2011 rose by 12% to £180m, despite a greatly reduced rail operation, moving from reporting losses to record profits in two years. Financial Times
Go-Ahead is to start making contributions to the Treasury’s funds from April after reporting strong growth in its rail division. Daily Telegraph
- Shares in the group rose by almost 5 per cent in late December after it raised full-year operating profit forecasts on the back of strong passenger growth at its rail franchises.
FirstGroup announced an interim dividend per share which was paid out on 1 February to shareholders on the register of members at the close of business on 6 January, accounting for the sharp drop after that date.
Shares in Stagecoach rallied in early December after the group declared an interim dividend.