22nd June 2012In this issue:
Industry developments this week
Virgin Trains chief Chris Gibb is to be seconded to Network Rail in an attempt to address repeated infrastructure problems on the West Coast Main Line which are dragging down train performance. Transport Briefing
A consultation was launched on the new Southeastern franchise, to run from 2014 to 2020, which will be affected by heavy Thameslink construction work. Transport Briefing
Go-Ahead warned the recession could affect the performance of its Southern franchise. Daily Telegraph.
- The company said its franchise bid “assumed stronger economic growth at this stage”, The Guardian reports.
New rail services
Tram services between Manchester and Oldham have returned for the first time since 1946. BBC News
Work has begun on a Midland Metro tram extension to Birmingham city centre. BBC News
The new Thames cable car spanning the river in east London will open to the public at midday on 28 June. BBC News
Companies running passenger trains in Scotland will be required to deliver better services in future, the Holyrood government has said. BBC News Other changes announced by the Scottish transport minister:
- Caledonian Sleeper trains are to be separated from ScotRail and operated as a standalone franchise. Transport Briefing
- New curbs on alcohol on trains are set to be announced, BBC Scotland has learned.
- The SNP has claimed “radical reform” of Scotland’s railways is being frustrated by UK privatisation laws introduced in the 1990s. The Herald
Merseytravel chairman Mark Dowd was forced to resign amid questions over governance arrangements he launched with his former chief executive, Neil Scales. Transport Briefing
The directors of Edinburgh’s failed trams company received £406,635 in compensation, figures have revealed. BBC News
Finance, business and sharecheck
Investor worries with FirstGroup’s performance are reflected in its share price.
- 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 aprofit warning, which it said related to 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.