Latest Rail News

01.12.05

Re-privatisation of South Eastern Trains

The Department for Transport has announced that Govia has received the contract to run the Integrated Kent rail franchise for eight years from 1st April, with the final two years dependent on service performance achieving set targets.

The contract commits to Govia introducing the high speed commuter trains that will use the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) to serve the South East from 2009. £250 million will be invested on new high speed trains for the CTRL. In addition, Govia has committed to improve performance, invest around £76 million in passenger and staff facilities, oversee the construction of two depots in East Kent, and add a number of off peak services to the current timetable.

Journey times from Ramsgate and East Kent, through the Medway towns and Thames Gateway to the centre of London will be reduced. It will be the first high speed commuter service the country has seen. In 2012 Govia will provide the ‘Olympic Javelin’ rail service that helped London secure the Olympic Games. This will link St. Pancras and Stratford in less than eight minutes.

However, the move has been criticised by rail union, RMT. The union said that the re-privatisation of South Eastern Trains means that the government has missed a golden opportunity to implement Labour Party conference policy of rail re-nationalisation.

RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow, said, “they have handed South Eastern Trains over to Govia, which also runs Southern Trains, effectively creating a private sector monopoly south of the River Thames.”

He also criticised the massive public funding that the Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF) will receive – £585 million over the eight years – whilst being allowed to raise fares by 3% above inflation for five years in the name of profit.

The Department of Transport argues that it is justifiable for the new operator to increase fares by this amount from January 2007 to ensure that there is a fair balance between the taxpayer and the fare paying passenger.

The Department for Transport has announced that Govia has received the contract to run the Integrated Kent rail franchise for eight years from 1st April, with the final two years dependent on service performance achieving set targets.

The contract commits to Govia introducing the high speed commuter trains that will use the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) to serve the South East from 2009. £250 million will be invested on new high speed trains for the CTRL. In addition, Govia has committed to improve performance, invest around £76 million in passenger and staff facilities, oversee the construction of two depots in East Kent, and add a number of off peak services to the current timetable.

Journey times from Ramsgate and East Kent, through the Medway towns and Thames Gateway to the centre of London will be reduced. It will be the first high speed commuter service the country has seen. In 2012 Govia will provide the ‘Olympic Javelin’ rail service that helped London secure the Olympic Games. This will link St. Pancras and Stratford in less than eight minutes.

However, the move has been criticised by rail union, RMT. The union said that the re-privatisation of South Eastern Trains means that the government has missed a golden opportunity to implement Labour Party conference policy of rail re-nationalisation.

RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow, said, “they have handed South Eastern Trains over to Govia, which also runs Southern Trains, effectively creating a private sector monopoly south of the River Thames.”

He also criticised the massive public funding that the Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF) will receive – £585 million over the eight years – whilst being allowed to raise fares by 3% above inflation for five years in the name of profit.

The Department of Transport argues that it is justifiable for the new operator to increase fares by this amount from January 2007 to ensure that there is a fair balance between the taxpayer and the fare paying passenger.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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