Rail industry press briefing 2013-34

27th September 2013

  • DfT launches Essex Thamesside and Thameslink franchise competitions
  • East Coast mainline could attrack most international bids ever
  • First Great Western extension ‘coming very soon’
In this issue:

Main stories this week

The first big rail franchise competition since the botched West Coast mainline rail tender opened on Thursday, as the government sought bids to run lines currently operated by c2c, First Capital Connect and Southern. [BBC News]

  • The [Financial Times] says all four UK-listed transport groups – Go-Ahead, Firstgroup, National Express and Stagecoach – are expected to bid, with foreign bidders including Abellio and MTR expected to enter.

[The Times] says the East Coast mainline franchise could spark the most international cast of railway bidders yet.

The Department for Transport is “close” to extending First Great Western for another three years. [Oxford Mail]

High Speed 2

High Speed 2 dominated conference season this week:

As opposition mounted, Labour questioned whether HS2 is “the best way to spend £50bn for the future of our country”. [BBC News]

  • Boris Johnson, the capital’s mayor, threatened to withdraw support if the line stopped short of the city centre. [Financial Times]
  • Councils opposed to the high-speed rail project unveiled an alternative strategy which, they claim, would generate the growth the country needs. [Daily Telegraph]

Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, raised the possibility that legislation to secure funding for the rail link may not be in place by the next election. [Financial Times]

  • But HS2’s chief executive dismissed fears that a delay in securing funding for the first stage of the rail link before the next election could scupper the project. [Financial Times]
  • The bosses of the main rail freight companies claimed HS2 will ensure supermarkets can keep a lid on food prices. [The Times]

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that he would “want to look” at any future proposals that would allow the beleaguered project to be finished sooner. [Daily Telegraph]

New services

The owners of Stansted airport are launching a campaign for an upgraded rail link to London as part of an aggressive effort to expand the Essex terminal by attracting long-haul carriers. [The Times]

Other news this week

The European Court of Justice rules train operators must pay passengers compensation for delays even if it’s not the firm’s fault [Daily Mail]

  • Train companies will be forced to reveal the amount they pay in compensation to passengers for disruption amid claims that there is an unfair gap between the amount operators receive and pay out for delays. [The Times]

Network Rail has been forced to apologise to customers on East Coast after a summer of frustration and big delays. [BBC News]

The final stage of the £550m redevelopment of London’s King’s Cross station has been completed. [BBC News]

Finance and companies

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn has trimmed an order for next-generation high-speed trains built by Siemens by almost 1 billion euro, an internal Deutsche Bahn document seen by [Reuters] showed.

  • DB has been appointed by the Saudi Railways Organization review the design and construction of the countryÍs first highspeed railway. [Global Rail News]