Issue 17/2012

24th May 2012

In this issue:

Industry developments this week

The three companies that own Britain’s train stock have paid their offshore owners almost £700m in dividends since 2008, the Sunday Times reported.

A number of developments in FirstGroup were reported:

  • Chris Surch became group finance director as of 1 September. Railnews
  • Jeroen Weimar became a new chief operating officer for the UK Bus business. Bus and Coach
  • The group announced it will sell off more of its strugglingUKbus operations as public spending cuts and rising fuel costs hit profits. The Guardian

A two year trial tram train service will run between Sheffield andRotherham in 2015. Transport Briefing

Thirty-four female middle managers at Network Rail are claiming back-pay of £25,000 each after a survey by TSSA found that women at the company earned an average of £4,500 a year less than their male counterparts. Financial Times

New rail services

Fishguard & Goodwick railway station has reopened to passengers in Pembrokeshire after nearly 50 years. Transport Briefing

Bringing train services back to St Andrews,Scotland, would cost £71m according to the findings of a new study. Transport Briefing

Eurostar is eyeing an ambitious expansion of its network out of London, by adding up to 10 destinations in four European countries over the next five years. Financial Times

Planning for a second Crossrail line linking north east with south west London needs to start now, a business lobbying group report says. Transport Briefing

Other stories

Load testing for the Thames cable car has begun. Transport Briefing

Shipwrecks are among the assets being handed to the Department for Transport as part of plans to abolish the British Railway Board residuary. Transport Briefing

Trains in Scotland should be considered late if they are more than a minute overdue, rather than the current five to ten-minute thresholds, a report urged. Scotsman

London Underground is to be prosecuted by the ORR over a runaway engineering train. BBC News

A parliamentary inquiry has found that rail alternatives to High Speed 2 would not meet future demand for rail travel. Transport Briefing

London Midland plan to profit £1.25 million a year from ticket office closures, the RMT claimed.

Finance, business and sharecheck


A Times opinion piece says a risk with FirstGroup is that 70 percent of its capital is tied up in operations like UK rail and buses, over which the group’s hold is uncertain in the medium term.

  • Shares in FirstGroup sank 14 per cent in late March 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
  • The group has sought to reassure investors after issuing the profit warning, which it said relatedto an “unacceptable” performance from its 8,000-vehicle UK bus business. Transport Briefing

Go-Ahead started 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.

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