Issue 32/2012

7th December 2012

  • The Laidlaw and NAO reports into the DfT’s cancelled West Coast franchise are published.
  • ScotRail’s franchise is extended to 2015.
  • London Underground wins funding to extend the Northern line.
In this issue:

Main stories this week

A “damning failure” within the Department for Transport has lessons for the whole civil service, the Transport Secretary admitted as he published an official report into the West Coast Main Line fiasco. [The Times]

  • The National Audit Office published a report of its own finding that swingeing cuts and rushed implementation of changes to rail franchising policy are responsible, reports the [Financial Times], while [BBC News]’s angle covers the cost to taxpayers, which will be “significant”.
  • Virgin Trains will continue to operate the West Coast rail franchise for a further 23 months, the government announced on Thursday. [Financial Times] [The Times] also has the story.
  • Three officials at the Department for Transport who were suspended over the West Coast fiasco – Kate Mingay, John Gilbert and Supriya Bhol – have been reinstated. [Financial Times]

The Scottish Government has extended ScotRail’s franchise with the end date from 9 November 2014 to 31 March 2015. [Transport Briefing]

New services

A public loan of up to £1bn to finance the extension of the London Underground Northern line to Battersea Power station has been approved. [Transport Briefing]

Plans are being drawn up to extend the Midland Metro tram line to a central Birmingham High Speed 2 station. [Transport Briefing]

A task force is being set up to drive forward plans for a metro-style rail system in south east Wales. [BBC News]

Other news

High Speed 2 will cost Camden £1 billion in damage, the London council warned the High Court. [Evening Standard]

Eurostar is to operate a new service between London and the south of France on a trial basis in May and June 2013. [Railway Gazette]

Inverness Airport could get its own railway station in little more than a year. [Press and Journall]

[Private Eye] says Go-Ahead shareholders need not worry about London Midland’s recent driver shortages: a bailout is at the end of the tunnel.

Financial update and sharecheck

Stagecoach has increased profits in the last six months, citing good revenue growth in its UK rail division. []

FirstGroup executives have been rattled not just by the loss of the InterCity West Coast franchise but by its bus operations, says [Private Eye]. FirstGroup shares fell by more than a quarter after the franchise process was subsequently cancelled in late September.

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