Rail franchises operators & contracts

Unions and MPs protest TOC’s potential £7.5bn funding gap in ‘deadly serious’ rail pensions row

Unions and MPs protest TOC’s potential £7.5bn funding gap in ‘deadly serious’ rail pensions row

12.04.19: The Pensions Regulator has warned that train operators face a black hole of up to £7.5bn and the RMT has threatened national strike action as the row over rail pensions comes to a head after the DfT blocked Stagecoach’s franchise bid...

Branson says Virgin Trains could be gone by November after ‘baffling’ DfT franchise decision

Branson says Virgin Trains could be gone by November after ‘baffling’ DfT franchise decision

11.04.19: Virgin Trains could disappear from Britain’s railways by the end of the year, Sir Richard Branson has announced after the government disqualified its joint franchise bid with Stagecoach. Branson he was “devastated” by the...

‘Shocked’ Stagecoach disqualified from three rail franchise bids in row over pensions

‘Shocked’ Stagecoach disqualified from three rail franchise bids in row over pensions

10.04.19: Stagecoach has accused ministers of putting the future of the UK rail industry in doubt and said it is “extremely concerned” after the DfT has barred it from three rail franchise bids. The DfT said that Stagecoach’s bids f...

DfT awards East Midlands rail franchise to Abellio

DfT awards East Midlands rail franchise to Abellio

10.04.19: Abellio has won the next East Midlands rail franchise and will take over from Stagecoach in August 2019 until 2027. The DfT announced that the ScotRail operator has been named as the successful bidder “after they presented a strong, c...

Caledonian Sleeper unveil first look inside new £150m fleet

Caledonian Sleeper unveil first look inside new £150m fleet

03.04.19: Caledonian Sleeper has revealed the design and interiors of its new £150m fleet of trains as the service nears its launch at the end of May. The first images from inside the new trains built by CAF have been released, showing the inte...

Wales and Border rail franchise in £200m deal for new metro fleet

Wales and Border rail franchise in £200m deal for new metro fleet

02.04.19: The Wales and Borders rail franchise has received £200m from the financial services giant Legal & General to provide new rolling stock on the south Wales Metro. The funding will see a new Wales and Borders rail fleet replace the c...

Deutsche Bahn to offload rail and bus operator Arriva

Deutsche Bahn to offload rail and bus operator Arriva

29.03.19: Arriva, which runs UK rail franchises including Northern and the London Overground, is to be put up for sale by its owner Deutsche Bahn (DB). The German state rail operator, which has debts of more than €20bn, has begun exploring a sal...

Five Caledonian Sleeper staff quit after reporting for work following drinking sessions

Five Caledonian Sleeper staff quit after reporting for work following drinking sessions

29.03.19: Five Caledonian Sleeper staff have left the operator after they were caught turning up to work after drinking in two separate incidents. The staff, who worked on-board the new sleeper services between London and Scotland, were suspended fol...

‘Unacceptable’: Northern’s extra half-hourly trains from Cheshire to Manchester delayed for second time

‘Unacceptable’: Northern’s extra half-hourly trains from Cheshire to Manchester delayed for second time

27.03.19: The introduction of two additional train services between Cheshire and Manchester every hour has been postponed for the second time, according to the DfT. Northern promised half-hourly train services on the Mid-Cheshire Line in its bid for...

Transport secretary threatens ScotRail with franchise termination if it misses improvement targets

Transport secretary threatens ScotRail with franchise termination if it misses improvement targets

27.03.19: The Scottish transport secretary has warned ScotRail could be stripped of its franchise if it fails to meet the targets of its remedial plan as the operator’s managing director tells MSPs that services could get worse. Under-fire trai...

The vision of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum

The vision of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum

26.03.19: Dave Hodgson, elected mayor of Bedford Borough Council and chair of England’s Economic Heartland’s Strategic Transport Forum, sets out his vision for the future of rail in light of the Rail Review, whilst highlighting the economic si...

GTR replaces UK’s oldest electric fleet with new £240m Class 717 trains

GTR replaces UK’s oldest electric fleet with new £240m Class 717 trains

26.03.19: A new £240m fleet of Class 717 trains has been entered into service by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to replace the UK’s oldest electric rail fleet. GTR has deployed the first two of its new Class 717 rolling stock from Siemens...

ScotRail submits £18m improvement plan in response to government improvement notice

ScotRail submits £18m improvement plan in response to government improvement notice

25.03.19: Under-fire train operator ScotRail has unveiled an £18m remedial plan to recruit more staff and bring in additional high-speed trains in response to the government’s improvement demands last month. Transport Scotland issued Scot...

Failings found as passengers on stranded train walk on live track in ‘potentially lethal’ incident, RAIB says

Failings found as passengers on stranded train walk on live track in ‘potentially lethal’ incident, RAIB says

25.03.19: Dozens of passengers left “increasingly uncomfortable” on a stranded train at Lewisham left their train and walked along icy tracks still open to traffic, a “shocking” RAIB report has revealed. The RMT stated it was...

FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

22.03.19: FirstGroup has finalised a £100m order for Hitachi AT300 electric trainsets in a partnership between the two companies to create a new London-to-Edinburgh rail link. FirstGroup said it had secured the rights to a new “open-acces...

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Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

14/05/2019Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

Scrapping the £56bn HS2 project could pave the way for 28 separate local infrastructure schemes to be funded instead with the case “g... more >
DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

14/05/2019DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

The DfT has called for new technologies to revolutionise travel for older people and those with disabilities, but the RMT has “reacted with... more >
First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

13/05/2019First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

HS2 is on the “verge of passing the point of no return” and the amount of money spent would make scrapping the flagship project &ldqu... 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

Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

13/05/2019Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

Professor Meiling Zhu, chair of mechanical engineering and head of the Energy Harvesting Research Group (EHRG) at the University of Exeter, introduces us to Ze-Power (Zero Power, Large Area Rail Track Monitoring): an innovative Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project aiming to make the railway tracks safer and... more >
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The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

13/05/2019The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), gives her view on the state of the UK’s ... more >
NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

13/05/2019NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) chief executive Neil Robertson returns to write for RTM, this time, to assess the digital skills shor... more >
Delivering cost-effective electrification

13/05/2019Delivering cost-effective electrification

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), sets out the findings of a new report on how rail electrification can... more >
5G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

13/05/20195G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

Simon Holmes, group head of digital (engineering) at FirstGroup, introduces us to the 5G solution being delivered for the rail sector.  ... more >

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interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >