Issue 12/2012

30th March 2012

In this issue:

Industry developments this week

Shortlisted bidders for three railway franchises were announced by the Department for Transport.

A Financial Times piece made the following observations:

  • FirstGroup was the only company to appear on all three shortlists, although it is the incumbent in two.
  • It is good news for National Express, which had failed to make a shortlist for its own Greater Anglia franchise.
  • Renfe, the Spanish operator, made no shortlists despite putting itself forward for all three.

The full shortlisted bidders are:

Great Western

  • Arriva
  • FirstGroup (incumbent)
  • National Express
  • Stagecoach

Essex Thamesside

  • Abellio
  • FirstGroup
  • MTR Corporation
  • National Express (incumbent)


  • Abellio
  • FirstGroup (incumbent)
  • Govia (formed of Go-Ahead and Keolis)
  • MTR Corporation
  • Stagecoach

The full Department for Transport announcement is here.

New rail services

Transport Minister Keith Brown has ruled out plans for cross-border trains heading to and from the north of Scotland to stop at Edinburgh. BBC News

Other stories in the press

Professor Richard Parry-Jones was appointed chairman designate of Network Rail. Press release

Frontrunners forLondon’s mayoral elections announced their transport manifestos:

  • Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson said driverless trains could be running on the London Underground within the next decade. BBC News
  • Labour’s Ken Livingstone said he will save Londoners on average £1,000 in fares if elected mayor. BBC News

Millions of London Overground passengers will soon be able to access a free Wi-Fi service at every station on the network.

The Government has shocked the rail industry by selecting a septuagenarian to chair HS2, a project that will not be completed until 2033. The Independent

Holding group sharecheck


Shares in FirstGroup sank 14 per cent on Thursday after a warning by the transport company that margins in its UK bus business would fall by more than a third this year. Financial Times

National Express shares soared after it posted strong 2011 results, up 12% to £180m, despite a greatly reduced rail operation. The group moved 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.

Click here for other time periods