Rail franchises operators & contracts

Companies invited to submit bids for West Coast Partnership

Companies invited to submit bids for West Coast Partnership

28.03.18: West Coast passengers will benefit from improved accessibility, simpler fares and improved compensation, transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced as he invited companies to bid for the brand-new franchise. Organisations have been invite...

Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

16.03.18: Union members working for South Western Railway (SWR) are to go through with a four-day strike running across both bank holidays over the Easter Weekend. RMT general secretary Mick Cash confirmed that the action would still go ahead between...

Greater Anglia forced to put multimillion-pound depot plans on hold

Greater Anglia forced to put multimillion-pound depot plans on hold

13.03.18: Greater Anglia has been forced to look at “alternative options” for its planned depot in Brantham, Suffolk, due to problems with access and the frequency of trains on a nearby level crossing. The multimillion-pound facility was...

Grayling scolds operators for lack of communication on cancelled services

Grayling scolds operators for lack of communication on cancelled services

06.03.18: Chris Grayling has rebuked train operators for their actions last week, when freezing conditions and heavy snow brought periods of extreme disruption. In a letter to Rail Delivery Group (RDG) boss, Paul Plummer, the transport secretary said...

UK Government takes major step towards Welsh rail devolution

UK Government takes major step towards Welsh rail devolution

01.03.18: The Welsh Government has taken a huge step towards devolved control over the railways after a new bill was put in front of Whitehall ministers this week. The process would see the National Assembly given new powers to oversee the Wales and...

RIA: Government underestimating UK rail value by whopping £25bn

RIA: Government underestimating UK rail value by whopping £25bn

27.02.18: The government could be underestimating the value of the rail industry in Britain by £25bn, figures released today by the Rail Industry Association (RIA) indicate. In total, the industry generates around £36bn for the UK annuall...

Abellio withdraws from Wales and Borders after Carillion collapse

Abellio withdraws from Wales and Borders after Carillion collapse

26.02.18: Abellio has announced today that it will withdraw its bid for the upcoming Wales and Borders franchise following the liquidation of its construction partner Carillion. The move leaves just two groups left in the running for the franchise af...

RMT announces further 24-hour strike on Northern and Merseyrail

RMT announces further 24-hour strike on Northern and Merseyrail

16.02.18: Further strike action on Merseyrail and Northern has been confirmed by RMT, whose members will strike for 24 hours on 3 March as part of a long-running dispute over driver-only operation (DOO). RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, claimed that eve...

SWR plans to run full service despite weekend-long RMT strike

SWR plans to run full service despite weekend-long RMT strike

15.02.18: South Western Railway (SWR) says it plans to run a full service over the upcoming weekend despite the RMT’s planned four-day strike. The union has confirmed that action will go ahead amid ongoing disputes about the safety of trains ru...

Government releases £3.6m fund for ‘new ideas and high value innovations’

Government releases £3.6m fund for ‘new ideas and high value innovations’

15.02.18: The government has revealed details of 10 projects which will receive a share of £3.6m as part of plans to support new innovations in the rail sector. Among the winning bids are projects aimed at improving the design of carriages to i...

SWR facing ORR investigation for providing passengers with incorrect service info

SWR facing ORR investigation for providing passengers with incorrect service info

14.02.18: The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has written to South Western Railway (SWR) to outline “serious concerns” over its compliance with the conditions of its passenger licence. In a letter to the TOC’s managing director, Andy Mell...

Union calls for government intervention after near-£1bn TfL deficit revealed

Union calls for government intervention after near-£1bn TfL deficit revealed

13.02.18: The RMT has urged the government to reverse plans to cut grant funding for TfL after it was discovered that the company could suffer from a budget deficit of nearly £1bn in 2018-19. The news comes after the Financial Times revealed de...

Inquiry launched into third East Coast franchise failure in 10 years

Inquiry launched into third East Coast franchise failure in 10 years

12.02.18: The transport committee has today officially launched its inquiry into the “imminent failure” of the Intercity East Coast rail franchise. This will be the third collapse of a commercial franchise agreement on this part of the railwa...

Stagecoach and Virgin awarded West Coast extension despite East Coast failure

Stagecoach and Virgin awarded West Coast extension despite East Coast failure

06.02.18: The transport secretary has this week confirmed a two-year extension to the Virgin Trains West Coast contract despite admitting the East Coast franchise, run by the same two companies, is months from collapse. Chris Grayling said the decisi...

Grayling: East Coast franchise could fail within months

Grayling: East Coast franchise could fail within months

06.02.18: The Virgin Trains East Coast franchise has cost majority-owners Stagecoach £200m and could be only “a small number of months” from collapse. Appearing in parliament this week, transport secretary Chris Grayling told minist...

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Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

22/02/2019Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

The potential of a Leicester to Coventry rail link has been revived again as one of the key highlights of a new transport masterplan outlined by ... more >
Queues of 15,000 and Eurostar chaos at St Pancras in no-deal Brexit

22/02/2019Queues of 15,000 and Eurostar chaos at St Pancras in no-deal Brexit

Eurostar queues of up to 15,000 passengers could mount up at London’s St Pancras International station in the event of a no-deal Brexit, ac... more >
New head of safety and environment for Hull Trains announced

21/02/2019New head of safety and environment for Hull Trains announced

A new head of safety and environment has been announced by Hull Trains, with Mark Shepherd due to replace Phil Green in the role. Bringing m... 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

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05/02/2019Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and set it on a better track for the future, argues David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus. Passengers waiting at stations today are not peering down the line looking for a strategy ... more >
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TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

05/02/2019TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

Mike Harding, from Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, introduces us to TrackWater: an innovative project between Lancaster Univ... more >
High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

05/02/2019High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

Last year, the Scottish Government announced two feasibility studies to better understand the economic and environmental implications of options ... more >
Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

05/02/2019Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

Steve Quinby, Network Rail’s head of data collection, gives us the rundown on the state-of-the-art ‘Flying Banana’ train. ... more >
Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

05/02/2019Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, explains how a new app developed for the rail industry wil... more >

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TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >