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02.09.16

Go-Ahead group reports £57m rail profits despite Southern failings

The Go-Ahead group’s profits in 2015-16 were £99.8m before tax, an increase from £78.7m the year before, and it made £57m from its three rail franchises.

In July last year, Southern integrated with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), in which Go-Ahead has a 65% share, forming the UK’s biggest rail franchise.

However, since then, Southern has been beset by widespread problems, which have forced it to cancel 341 services a day to try to get control of widespread delays.

It has now promised to restore the services, and DfT has contributed £20m to solving the problems, but figures such as London mayor Sadiq Khan have called for GTR to be stripped of the franchise.

David Brown, CEO of the Go-Ahead group, said he was “pleased” with the financial results but that the group apologised to passengers affected by the delays on Southern.

“A large part of the role of the GTR franchise is to introduce three new train fleets and modernise working practices,” said Brown.

“During this period of change, Southern services have been disrupted by restricted network capacity, strike action and increased levels of absence. We apologise to the people whose lives have been affected during this time. We continue to work closely with the DfT, Network Rail and other suppliers and partners to operate the best service possible while delivering the long term improvements.”

The Go-Ahead group figures show that GTR suffered a 13.6% reduction in profits, raising £1.4bn in passenger revenue and £62.2m in other revenue.

However, this was compensated for by a growth in profits of 14.9% for Southeastern and 7.6% for London Midland.

Rail union RMT is planning conductor strikes on Southern on 7 and 8 September in protest at plans to expand driver-operated only (DOO) services, which they say threaten passenger safety.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “Just a fraction of these profits would be enough to keep the guards on Southern trains, keep the passengers safe and resolve the industrial dispute between RMT and the company. It is shameful that they have opted to hoard cash instead of protecting the travelling public.”

He added that instead of accepting the £20m funding from the government, Southern “could clearly fund improvements ‎themselves if they weren’t wholly dedicated to trousering fare-payers money in shed loads”.

London Midland has submitted a bid to continue operating the West Midlands franchise, competing against West Midlands trains, owned by Abellio.

(Image c. Lauren Hurley from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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Comments

Neil Palmer   02/09/2016 at 16:41

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “Just a fraction of these profits would be enough to keep the guards on Southern trains, keep the passengers safe and resolve the industrial dispute between RMT and the company. It is shameful that they have opted to hoard cash instead of protecting the travelling public.” Well Mick, the offer is already out there that there will be NO loss of jobs, no reduction in pay, and that all trains with a second member of staff on board will retain one. And we know studies by the relevant safety bodies (NOT the RMT) have shown DCO is NOT a safety issue. SO, we're left with the conclusion that either: a) you are in fact, as usual, after more money d) you know that once DCO is in place that your ability to cause mass disruption will disappear, so you're striking to maintain your militant power of disruption over the loves of the suffering public c) this whole strike is about your (and the RMT's) political agenda in trying to break GTR and force the operation back into public ownership, so you can go back to your "good old British Rail days" of disrupting large parts of the national rail network all at once. Ah Mick - King of Intransigence.

Neil Palmer   02/09/2016 at 16:43

d) you know that once DCO is in place that your ability to cause mass disruption will disappear, so you're striking to maintain your militant power of disruption over the loves of the suffering public Oops - should be "lives of the suffering public".

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