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Owner of Britain’s worst-performing rail operators reports jump in revenue

The company responsible for running some of Britain’s worst-performing rail services has reported a £200m jump in revenue and a £4.3m rise in pre-tax profit.

Go-Ahead Group, the company behind Thameslink & Great Northern (TSGN), Southern, Southeastern and London Midland, reported £1.56bn revenue for the six months ending 27 December 2014, compared to £1.37bn for the same period the year before.

The main driver behind the huge increase was Go-Ahead's rail operation, which accounted for £1.15bn of the total.

Pre-tax profit also increased from £40.3m to £44.7m.

The news of their increase in revenue comes as a survey of rail passengers by Which? found TSGN, Southeastern and Southern were rated worst in customer satisfaction, with none of the three franchises scoring over 50%.

In describing TSGN, which came last in the survey, one passenger told Which?: “The trains are out of date and tatty, there aren’t enough carriages and the fares don’t reflect the level of service.”

The same three franchises also came last in the respected National Rail Passenger Survey by Passenger Focus. The worst-rated operator was Southeastern, with a satisfaction score of 74%, three percentage points below Thameslink and Southern, which recently admitted that one of its train services had never run on time for an entire year.

When announcing the revenue results, group chief executive David Brown, said that attention is "focused on improving operational performance" of the rail services by working closely with industry partners Network Rail to "minimise disruption" for passengers, particularly during the major Thameslink Programme infrastructure upgrade.

Brown added that the group's bid team remains focused on providing attractive bids for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises later this year.

TSGN is due to introduce the new Siemens-built Class 700 stock next year and will hope that this will start to overhaul poor perceptions.

(Image source: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

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