Issue 29/2012

29th October 2012

  • More rumours surrounding the aborted West Coast mainline franchise process suggest the DfT knew about some issues as early as May 2011.
  • High Speed 2’s compensation package is announced
  • London Midland’s driver shortage appears to be over
In this issue:

Industry developments this week

Nearly £1 million was spent by the Department for Transport outsourcing parts of the botched West Coast main line franchise to private contractors, a minister has admitted. [The Herald]

  • The [Financial Times] says the DfT was alerted to errors in the bid documentation for the West Coast main line franchise as long ago as May 2011, suggesting there were problems from the outset with the handling of the tender scrapped by the government earlier this month.
  • Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will be grilled by MPs this week about the west coast rail franchise, armed with a report into the fiasco from Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw. [The Observer]

A compensation package was announced for homeowners on the path of High Speed 2, but campaigners attacked it as inadequate. [Financial Times]

  • The [Evening Standard] complains Londoners receive a poorer deal than rural property owners.

New rail services

Plans are being drawn up to solve the UK’s aviation capacity crunch by linking Heathrow and Stansted airports in a “dual hub” with a Crossrail extension. [Financial Times]

Other rail industry developments

Merseytravel has been told to ‘refocus’ entirely on delivering public transport, after two separate reports slammed the troubled transport authority for shocking financial failures. [LocalGov]

London Midland has blamed a “shortfall of qualified drivers” for more than 400 cancellations that have affected routes around the Midlands. [Daily Telegraph]

[The Guardian] ran the transcript of an interview with FirstGroup’s Tim O’Toole ahead of his George Bradshaw Address on 31 October.

Finance update and sharecheck

FirstGroup shares soared in late July and early August as rumours began to circulate it had won the West Coast mainline franchise. They fell by more than a quarter after the process was subsequently cancelled in late September.

Passenger numbers were up but sales revenue down in the third quarter of 2012 for Eurostar, with the operator blaming a pre-Olympic slump. [Railnews]

Directly Operated Railways, the parent company of East Coast, has reported pre-tax profits of £7.1m on revenue of £665.m [RAIL]

Go-Ahead has said it wanted to make profits of £100 million a year from running bus services in Britain. [The Times]

National Express said it had traded well in its third quarter, driven by resilient performances from its UK bus and rail businesses. [Reuters]

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