Rail franchises operators & contracts

May 2018 timetable: ORR launches probe into potential GTR and Northern licence breach

May 2018 timetable: ORR launches probe into potential GTR and Northern licence breach

05.10.18: The ORR has opened an investigation into whether GTR and Northern breached their requirements to do everything reasonably practice to provide accurate and timely information to passengers in the run-up to, and during, the May 2018 timetable fias...

New Caledonian Sleeper carriages delayed until next spring

New Caledonian Sleeper carriages delayed until next spring

02.10.18: The introduction of the new Caledonian Sleeper carriages, which were expected to be in operation by the end of this month, has been further delayed until May 2019. The carriages are to include en-suite bathrooms and double beds and will ope...

Exclusive: Shutting door to nationalisation ‘fetters’ rail review and constrains expert advice, says Burnham

Exclusive: Shutting door to nationalisation ‘fetters’ rail review and constrains expert advice, says Burnham

28.09.18: The Greater Manchester mayor has revealed he was disappointed in transport secretary Chris Grayling’s rail review, arguing that the government is limiting the review leaders by ruling out the possibility of renationalisation. In an ex...

ORR report: ‘No one took charge’ in May timetable chaos, ‘everyone made mistakes’

ORR report: ‘No one took charge’ in May timetable chaos, ‘everyone made mistakes’

20.09.18: A scathing report into the May timetable chaos has blasted transport secretary Chris Grayling, Network Rail, and the DfT’s handling of the widespread crisis, claiming “no one took charge” when issues started to arise. The...

DfT quietly pulls the plug on CrossCountry franchise competition

DfT quietly pulls the plug on CrossCountry franchise competition

20.09.18: The government has decided to pull the plug on the CrossCountry franchise competition as a result of its rail review announcement today. Because of the franchise’s “unique geographic nature,” running from Aberdeen to Penza...

Major 2019 rail review led by BA boss will ‘leave no stone unturned’

Major 2019 rail review led by BA boss will ‘leave no stone unturned’

20.09.18: In response to the May timetable disruptions and longstanding concerns over what has been repeatedly branded a “broken” franchising system, the government has decided to formally launch a comprehensive review of the rail industry in...

Backlash at rail boss Richard Branson as he says lateness ‘annoys’ him

Backlash at rail boss Richard Branson as he says lateness ‘annoys’ him

13.09.18: Rail passengers took to Twitter to express anger at Virgin Trains boss Richard Branson, who tweeted: “There’s very little that annoys me in life, but people turning up late really does.” There’s very little that anno...

East Coast fiasco: MPs decide who is to blame for ‘overoptimistic’ franchise

East Coast fiasco: MPs decide who is to blame for ‘overoptimistic’ franchise

12.09.18: Virgin, Stagecoach and the DfT all share blame for the quick failure of the East Coast franchise earlier this year – with the first two drafting up a financially risky bid with very little resilience, and the latter setting unrealistic ben...

EU sets final deadline for Siemens and Alstom merger

EU sets final deadline for Siemens and Alstom merger

07.09.18: The European Commission has set a deadline of 28 January for the proposed rail merger of Siemens and Alstom. The deal was agreed last September but has been met by objections from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the O...

Go-Ahead blames timetable fiasco on ‘industry failure’ as firm set to pay out millions

Go-Ahead blames timetable fiasco on ‘industry failure’ as firm set to pay out millions

06.09.18: The operator of Southern and Thameslink has revealed it expects to pay out “millions” in compensation to passengers affected by its May timetable chaos. The Go-Ahead Group said it is contacting tens of thousands of affected cust...

Potential rail franchise shake-up in the works as PM pushes for review

Potential rail franchise shake-up in the works as PM pushes for review

05.09.18: The government is considering leading what has been described as the biggest review of the UK’s rail franchising system for two decades in efforts to prevent collapses such as that of the East Coast franchise back in May. According to...

LNER: Business as usual

LNER: Business as usual

04.09.18: On 24 June, the operation of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) service transferred from Virgin Trains East Coast to the newly-created London North Eastern Railway (LNER). David Horne, its managing director, talks about the first few months and wha...

DfT won’t split up Great Western, but calls for ‘more decentralisation’

DfT won’t split up Great Western, but calls for ‘more decentralisation’

28.08.18: There has been little public and organisational support for the idea of splitting the Great Western franchise and creating a separate operation for the West of England, a consultation has revealed – so the government has announced it will...

Public sector bidders will be allowed to compete for ScotRail franchise

Public sector bidders will be allowed to compete for ScotRail franchise

24.08.18: Public-sector bidders will be allowed to compete for the next ScotRail franchise in order to ensure the public and private sectors have a fair and equal access to contracts, ministers have confirmed. Michael Matheson, Cabinet secretary for...

Ex-minister calls for radical managerial devolution of ‘inertia-ridden behemoth’ Network Rail

Ex-minister calls for radical managerial devolution of ‘inertia-ridden behemoth’ Network Rail

22.08.18: A new report by a former transport minister has rejected the idea of renationalising Scotland’s railways and thrown support behind the current system. The report—commissioned by ScotRail operator Abellio and written by Tom Harri...

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Rail review: Grayling confirms no major changes until 2020

12/10/2018Rail review: Grayling confirms no major changes until 2020

Rail commuters could continue to face disruption until major changes are made to the rail franchising system in 2020, following the transport sec... more >
£15m Network Rail freight upgrade between Doncaster and Lincolnshire kicks off

12/10/2018£15m Network Rail freight upgrade between Doncaster and Lincolnshire kicks off

Work to upgrade the route between Doncaster and northern Lincolnshire has begun as Network Rail invests more than £15m in rail freight in t... more >
How will Crossrail 2 be paid for? Boss backs tax hike, says ‘we must make scheme more affordable’

12/10/2018How will Crossrail 2 be paid for? Boss backs tax hike, says ‘we must make scheme more affordable’

The managing director for Crossrail 2 has outlined the plans for cutting costs for Crossrail 2, stating that TfL “need to make it more affo... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Even now, there is no concrete plan, nor timescales, for the interim operator of this franchise. From our inquiry, we cannot be sure, and cannot reassure passengers or public, that the arrangements ... more >
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Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

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interviews

Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >