Issue 09/2013

22nd February 2013

  • ORR tells Network Rail to stop blaming the weather
  • Rail Delivery Group membership becomes compulsory
  • Go-Ahead publicly supports DfT franchising policy
  • Keolis vital for growth, owner SNCF says
In this issue:

Main stories this week

An ORR report has accused Network Rail of poor management and rebuked it for blaming the weather for poor services. [The Times]

The Rail Delivery Group became a formal part of Britain’s rail decision making structure on Monday, with compulsory membership. [Transport Briefing]

Go-Ahead’s chief executive has publicly backed Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s approach to franchising, as Arriva and National Express hint at possible legal action over cancelled bids. [The Times]

SNCF has identified its Keolis arm as the “most important” part of the company’s drive to increase its international contributions, in this analysis of French railways by the [Financial Times]. Keolis was shortlisted for the aborted West Coast mainline franchise.

New and proposed services


London’s transport system cannot cope with extra traffic from High Speed if the government fails to back a new Crossrail line for the capital, London Underground managing director Mike Brown has warned. [Financial Times]

  • London’s transport commissioner Peter Hendy expects to be in a position to propose a Crossrail/HS2 station at Old Oak Common by the end of February. [Transport Briefing]

Speaking in Japan, minister Simon Burns told the [Financial Times] he believed legal challenges to High Speed 2 would not cause any “major hiccup”.

  • Scottish transport minister Keith Brown said this week Scotland will not enjoy the benefits of high-speed rail unless the line is continued north of the border. [Evening Times]

The case for AirTrack – a direct rail service from Waterloo to Heathrow – is to be developed by Wandsworth Council, which has appointed a transport consultancy. [Transport Briefing]

Southern is to become the first operator to offer season tickets into London on ITSO smartcards. [Transport Briefing]

Other stories this week

Will Whitehorn, a former senior Virgin Group executive, is to chair a government innovation centre being created to devise integrated transport systems for export in a global market predicted to be worth £900bn by 2025. [Financial Times]

Howard Collins, LU’s chief operations director, is leaving to run an Australian rail network. [Evening Standard]

Train company bosses are earning six figure salaries at a time when rail passengers are enduring above inflation fare rises, latest figures have revealed. [Sunday Times]

First Capital Connect has been voted the worst train operator by commuters, according to a survey conducted by Which? [Daily Telegraph]

  • Virgin Trains came out top of the same survey. [Scotsman]
  • [Private Eye] attacks Passenger Focus‘s methods, describing the latest NPS results as “unbelievable”

Thousands of passengers on East Coast were advised not to travel after overhead power lines caused major delays. [BBC News]

  • [Railnews] reports that services are now returning to normal.

Financial update and sharecheck

The UK Competition Commission appears set to veto a plan by Eurotunnel to operate cross-Channel ferries. [Financial Times] The company already operates the Channel Tunnel and GB Railfreight.

The [Financial Times] says Go Ahead is performing strongly despite the flagging UK rail market because it has a strong bus division.

  • The group’s [press release] announcing its second half results for 2012 said its rail businesses had performed “robustly”.

A [4-Traders] analysis suggests Stagecoach‘s strong fundamentals could see it regain an upward trend after having earlier “run out of steam”.

  • The group’s incoming chief executive warned investor confidence in the UK rail industry “couldn’t get much worse” in the wake of the West Coast rail franchise fiasco. [Daily Telegraph]
FirstGroup is in the midst of selling off parts of its bus operation and is confident it can still meet its target of raising  £100m before the end of the financial year. [Transport Briefing] It reported 8.1% revenue growth across its rail division in the fourth quarter of 2012 [press release], sending its share price upward.
  • Stagecoach has been buying bus contracts, seemingly at FirstGroup’s expense. Most recently Stagecoach won five bus contracts in London – five from FirstGroup, one from Arriva – in a series of handovers in the capital. []
  • Stagecoach has also purchased a number of bus companies from FirstGroup in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. [Transport Briefing]

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