Rail industry press briefing 2013-35

4th October 2013

  • First Great Western to retain franchise for another two years
  • Eurostar announces bid for East Coast franchise
  • Transport secretary dismisses “moaning” HS2 critics
In this issue:

Main stories this week

FirstGroup’s First Great Western will keep the franchise to run trains into Wales and the South West for another two years. [BBC News]

  • [The Times] describes the agremenet struck by the Department for Transport as a “chaper deal”

Eurostar is to bid for the East Coast franchise with Keolis, entering the bidding for UK domestic rail franchises for the first time. [Financial Times]

  • The plans could be halted at a red light after lawyers warned Eurostar’s part-ownership by the British taxpayer could count against it. [The Times]

In an interview with [the Observer], the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, insists that he, David Cameron and the chancellor, George Osborne, all remain fully committed to building High Speed 2.

  • McLoughlin has hit out at critics of HS2, accusing London-based commentators of “moaning” about the rail link’s cost. [BBC News]

New rail services

Rail passengers will be able to travel to Amsterdam directly from 2016, after Eurostar reached an agreement with Dutch railways. [The Times]

Other stories this week

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would “not rule out” banning strikes on the London Underground. [BBC News]

Southeastern railway timetable introduced to help train drivers cope with leaves on the line in south-east England has come into effect. [BBC News]

Plans for 20 new railway stations across south Wales have been criticised as failing to look at how passengers will get to their nearest station. [BBC News]

Rail companies were branded “great train robbers” as new figures revealed some fares have more than tripled since privatisation. [Evening Standard]

Britain faces losing 3,500 highly skilled civil engineers and tunnelling specialists abroad if there is no new big infrastructure project ready to take over from the £14.8 billion Crossrail development from East to West London, the scheme’s chief executive has warned. [The Times]

boom in rail travel has created more than 10,000 extra jobs, new figures have revealed. [Daily Mirror]

Finance and companies

The boss of Eurotunnel has warned that the 600 staff who operate the company’s three cross-Channel ferries will lose their jobs if the company does not win an appeal against a decision by the UK competition watchdog to bar the ships from serving Dover. [Financial Times]