Rail franchises operators & contracts

Final intercity train sees GWR deliver 10,000 more seats

Final intercity train sees GWR deliver 10,000 more seats

03.01.19: More than 10,000 more train seats have now been made available on the Great Western Railway (GWR) network after the train operator delivered the remainder of the new fleet of Class 800 intercity trains yesterday. Before Christmas GWR took t...

National competition regulators write to oppose Siemens-Alstom merger

National competition regulators write to oppose Siemens-Alstom merger

21.12.18: The UK’s competition watchdog has written to the EU Commission with the backing of several European regulators in a bid to halt the Siemens-Alstom merger unless the two companies make much bigger concessions. The Competition and Marke...

Greater Anglia to ditch First Class travel from 2020

Greater Anglia to ditch First Class travel from 2020

19.12.18: Greater Anglia is to scrap First Class travel on most of its services from January 2020 in order to create more room for Standard Class passengers. The train operator will also be bringing in new and longer trains from the end of next year...

Northern calls for formal ACAS inquiry over bitter RMT dispute

Northern calls for formal ACAS inquiry over bitter RMT dispute

19.12.18: Northern Rail has formally written to ACAS seeking an independent inquiry into its ongoing dispute with the RMT, with the union calling the move a “nothing more than a publicity stunt.” The train operator says it wants an inquir...

Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

18.12.18: Passengers will have the choice of choosing which train operators they travel with under new plans to allow rival TOCs to operate on the same routes to drive up competition. The new competitive system will be introduced to the rail network...

Siemens and Alstom offer to sell high-speed train technology to address EU antitrust concerns

Siemens and Alstom offer to sell high-speed train technology to address EU antitrust concerns

18.12.18: Engineering giants Siemens and Alstom have offered to sell their high-speed train technology as part of a concession package to address EU antitrust objections over the proposed merger. The German and French train companies submitted their...

Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

14.12.18:  Infrastructure giant Amey is expected to be sold to a private equity firm in the new year, according to reports. The Financial Times believes that Amey’s Spanish parent company, Ferrovial, is in talks with PAI Partners and Greyb...

Siemens and Alstom submit concessions to EU to secure merger deal

Siemens and Alstom submit concessions to EU to secure merger deal

13.12.18: Engineering giants Siemens and Alstom have submitted concessions to the European Commission in a bid to quell raised concerns that the merger between the two would negatively impact competition in the industry. The announcement by the two c...

Five new platforms for Waterloo station as old Eurostar terminal reopens

Five new platforms for Waterloo station as old Eurostar terminal reopens

11.12.18: The former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station has been reopened for the first time in 12 years, bringing five new platforms to the Britain’s busiest railway station. Platforms 20 to 22 at Waterloo have been opened to the public, an...

May timetable crisis: GTR hit with government profit sanctions and told to spend £15m on improvements

May timetable crisis: GTR hit with government profit sanctions and told to spend £15m on improvements

04.12.18: Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been told that it must contribute £15m towards service improvements for passengers as the government announced that the TOC will be hit with sanctions, capping its profits for the remainder of its franchi...

Grayling ‘should resign’ over ‘appalling’ timetable chaos as MPs call for fare freeze

Grayling ‘should resign’ over ‘appalling’ timetable chaos as MPs call for fare freeze

04.12.18: MPs have demanded a freeze in rail fares and called for the transport secretary to resign over the “chaotic roll-out” of the new railway timetables introduced in May, which hit nearly half of all passenger services up and down the co...

After almost a year of strikes, DfT commits to keeping second person on-board Northern trains

After almost a year of strikes, DfT commits to keeping second person on-board Northern trains

29.11.18: The DfT and Transport for the North (TfN) have committed to keep a second person on-board Northern trains in a momentous decision that could bring an end to strike action and settle the long-running dispute between the TOC and the RMT union. ...

New railway technology to save track workers thousands of hours on SWR

New railway technology to save track workers thousands of hours on SWR

27.11.18:  New technology to help carry out overnight and maintenance work is set to be rolled out across the South Western Railway and will save track workers an extra 1,600 hours a year. The railway technology will allow for a more efficient...

DfT denies ‘experimenting’ with new East Coast Partnership, promises better franchise bids assessment

DfT denies ‘experimenting’ with new East Coast Partnership, promises better franchise bids assessment

27.11.18: The DfT has defended its reportedly experimental plans for the refreshed East Coast Main Line franchise, arguing that its process for assessing bids is now “more robust” after a critical report into the failings that led to the colla...

Thameslink director appointed as East West Rail’s first CEO

Thameslink director appointed as East West Rail’s first CEO

23.11.18: East West Rail has announced its first chief executive as Simon Blanchflower, the programme director for Thameslink. Blanchflower will lead the East West Railway Company through its next phase of development, delivering a new railway l...

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‘Time is running out’: MSP and union leaders call for government intervention into Springburn depot

19/02/2019‘Time is running out’: MSP and union leaders call for government intervention into Springburn depot

Scottish Labour and union leaders have called on the government to take the Springburn depot under public control as ministers debate the depot&r... more >
South Western Railway strikes suspended after ‘significant breakthrough’ in guard dispute

19/02/2019South Western Railway strikes suspended after ‘significant breakthrough’ in guard dispute

Strike action by workers on the South Western Railway (SWR) have been suspended after a “significant breakthrough” was made in the lo... more >
MPs make joint-pledge to back rail investment in Liverpool Manchester corridor in Parliament

19/02/2019MPs make joint-pledge to back rail investment in Liverpool Manchester corridor in Parliament

More than 20 MPs from Liverpool and Manchester have signed a commitment to support rail investment in the north west. The pledge, which was ... 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 >