Rail franchises operators & contracts

‘Broken’ rail complaints system failing to deal with passengers effectively or even with ‘basic courtesy’

‘Broken’ rail complaints system failing to deal with passengers effectively or even with ‘basic courtesy’

14.11.18: The rail complaints system is “broken” and train companies are failing to deal with passenger complaints effectively or even with “basic courtesy,” new analysis has revealed. An investigation by Which? found that les...

GWR and SWR owner FirstGroup appoints new CEO as it announces fall in rail profits

GWR and SWR owner FirstGroup appoints new CEO as it announces fall in rail profits

13.11.18: FirstGroup has named Matthew Gregory as its new chief executive as it revealed widening half-year losses and warned about the profitability of its rail franchises. Gregory has been the interim chief operating officer at the bus and rail pro...

Labour call for renationalisation ahead of Scottish Parliament vote on ScotRail contract

Labour call for renationalisation ahead of Scottish Parliament vote on ScotRail contract

12.11.18: Scotland’s government is set to vote on the future of ScotRail’s train services amidst calls from Labour to renationalise the franchise. MSPs are due to vote on Wednesday on whether the government should enforce a break clause i...

Porterbrook secures £250m financing to sustain investment in passenger trains

Porterbrook secures £250m financing to sustain investment in passenger trains

09.11.18: Porterbrook, the UK’s largest owner of passenger trains, has announced the refinancing of a £250m public bond to support and sustain its investment in its rolling stock. The Derby-based company has refinanced the bond in the pri...

Siemens CEO says it is ‘willing to make concessions’ to secure EU approval for Alstom merger

Siemens CEO says it is ‘willing to make concessions’ to secure EU approval for Alstom merger

09.11.18: The chief executive of Siemens has said he is “willing to make concessions” if necessary in order to gain EU approval for its proposed rail merger with Alstom. Joe Kaeser, head of the German rail giant speaking at Siemens’...

20 May: What really happened

20 May: What really happened

06.11.18: Dan Brown, director of strategy and policy at the ORR, walks us through the first part of the regulator’s inquiry into the timetable chaos that ensued earlier this year. On 20 May 2018, a new timetable was introduced which plunged rai...

The future of rail investment

The future of rail investment

06.11.18: Paul Sheffield, vice president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and ICE State of the Nation steering group chair, discusses his organisation’s report on the future of investment in the rail sector. Rail continues to be a ke...

Northern Rail and German owner in crisis talks with government over risk of £282m bailout

Northern Rail and German owner in crisis talks with government over risk of £282m bailout

05.11.18: Northern Rail are locked in crisis talks with the government along with its owner, Germany’s nationalised train operator Deutsche Bahn, as massive levels of disruption cripple the rail franchise’s finances. The Telegraph reveale...

EU Commission sends out antitrust warning over Siemens-Alstom merger

EU Commission sends out antitrust warning over Siemens-Alstom merger

01.11.18: The EU Commission has sent a series of objections to Siemens and Alstom over their plans for a European railway merger, increasing the possibility of substantial asset sales needed to secure EU approval. The move by the European Union&rsquo...

Budget promises not enough to unlock rail and housing in Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Budget promises not enough to unlock rail and housing in Oxford-Cambridge Arc

30.10.18: Philip Hammond’s Budget promises will not be enough to deliver the new transport links and homes needed in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc without intensive government efforts, warns the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). The chancell...

Rate of complaints hit six-year high for UK railway

Rate of complaints hit six-year high for UK railway

26.10.18: The rate of rail complaints for the quarter has hit a six-year high due to frustrations over punctuality and reliability during the May timetable chaos, according to the ORR. There were 29.9 complaints per 100,000 journeys in 2018-19 Q1, wh...

Grayling won’t confirm halt to January fare rise, says TfL are in ‘deep financial difficulties’ due to Khan’s fare freeze

Grayling won’t confirm halt to January fare rise, says TfL are in ‘deep financial difficulties’ due to Khan’s fare freeze

23.10.18: The transport secretary has failed to confirm whether rail passengers struck by disruption will not have their train fares increased, arguing that TfL are now in “deep financial difficulties” as a result of mayor Sadiq Khan’s f...

Planning Inspectorate reject plans for giant rail freight interchange in Northamptonshire

Planning Inspectorate reject plans for giant rail freight interchange in Northamptonshire

23.10.18: Plans for a massive strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) in Northamptonshire has been rejected by the government’s Planning Inspectorate (PINS) because of “inconsistencies” in the proposals. The 600-acre proposal, sub...

Passengers ‘deserve better’ as ScotRail fined £2.2m for failing to meet performance targets

Passengers ‘deserve better’ as ScotRail fined £2.2m for failing to meet performance targets

22.10.18: ScotRail has been fined £2.2m across the first six months of the year after failing to meet a succession of targets. The train operator missed 15 out of 38 targets between April and June, according to a service quality report, and fai...

Urgent government talks after Dutch company plugs £80m funding hole in Greater Anglia

Urgent government talks after Dutch company plugs £80m funding hole in Greater Anglia

19.10.18: Greater Anglia has received an £80m rescue package led by the Netherlands, leading to reports of urgent talks between the UK and Dutch governments to fix the “flawed” funding formula in place. Dutch company Abellio jointly...

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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 >