Issue 15/2013

12th April 2013

  • £600,000 shared among four Network Rail directors
  • Branson: Virgin East Coast would be ‘massively better value’
  • High Speed 2 consultant fees ‘higher than expected’
In this issue:

Main stories this week

Four Network Rail directors – Patrick Butcher, Robin Gisby, Simon Kirby and Paul Plummer – are to get a total of more than £600,000 in bonuses under a long-term incentive scheme. [Financial Times]

  • The [Daily Mail] describes the news as the “Great Train Robbery”;
  • [The Times], which describes the payments as “taxpayer-funded bonuses”, says they will be paid even though Network Rail is due to miss punctuality targets

Sir Richard Branson has said Virgin Rail could provide “massively” better value for taxpayers than the current state-run East Coast. [The Guardian] He said future rail franchises should include provisions to boot out underperforming train operators.

  • Branson added his new Scottish short-haul air services will not affect his next bid for the East Coast rail franchise on the same routes. [The Herald]
  • Keolis has approached Labour’s shadow transport team to go over options for the East Coast mainline, which has so far paid out £640m to the Government. [The Journal]

New services

New controversy is surrounding plans for High Speed 2 as the UK Independence Party has made it a campaign issue. [Railnews]

  • Fees for consultants working on the much-criticised plans for the rail link are “higher than forecast”, according to the project board’s latest published minutes. [The Independent]

Other stories this week

Network Rail has been fined £450,000 for health and safety breaches over an “entirely preventable” death of level crossing victim. [Daily Mail]

Boris Johnson was today urged to back a campaign to slash ticket prices on the Heathrow Express. [Evening Standard]

The Docklands Light Railway has carried one-hundred-million passengers in the past year, breaking all previous records for passenger numbers on the system. []

c2c is advising customers not to skip breakfast following a rise in delays caused by ill passengers. [BBC News]

Company news

FirstGroup has sold eight London bus depots for £80m, taking it further towards its goal of £100m in disposals as part of a turnround strategy. [Financial Times]

Two directors of Stobart have been committed for trial for contempt of court as the transport group’s relationship with the City came under further strain. [Financial Times]