Rail franchises operators & contracts

Government officially launches East West Railway Company

Government officially launches East West Railway Company

14.12.17: Transport secretary Chris Grayling has officially launched the East West Railway (EWR) Company today, intended to restore the link between Oxford and Cambridge. The Varsity line, which previously connected the two cities, was shut down near...

Government could face investigation over Virgin East Coast ‘bailout’

Government could face investigation over Virgin East Coast ‘bailout’

12.12.17: The DfT could be subject to an investigation following the decision to allow Virgin Trains East Coast out of its franchise obligations three years early. Transport secretary Chris Grayling announced the move earlier this month, sparking fea...

West Midlands Trains and London Northwestern launch first services

West Midlands Trains and London Northwestern launch first services

11.12.17: The new West Midlands franchise officially launched this weekend as West Midlands Trains and London Northwestern began operations. The new operator is a joint venture between Abellio, JR East and Mitsui which won the contract from London Mi...

ScotRail puts severe weather plans in place for winter

ScotRail puts severe weather plans in place for winter

06.12.17: ScotRail has outlined its extreme winter weather plans as Scotland prepares to be hit by Storm Caroline. Winter impacts on the railway, with the effects ranging from speed restrictions to service suspension. To avoid objects which may have b...

TPE to invest £7m in new state-of-the-art Scarborough depot

TPE to invest £7m in new state-of-the-art Scarborough depot

04.12.17: TransPennine Express (TPE) is set to invest £7m into a new train servicing depot in Scarborough. The facility, which is expected to open in summer 2018, will provide light maintenance services for trains between Scarborough and Liverpool...

East Coast franchise to end early as Grayling accused of ‘misleading’

East Coast franchise to end early as Grayling accused of ‘misleading’

01.12.17: The Virgin East Coast franchise is to end three years early, in 2020, transport secretary Chris Grayling announced yesterday. The decision has sparked financial concerns across the industry as the franchise – owned jointly by Stagecoa...

Go-Ahead profits stabilise as year-long strike row draws to a close

Go-Ahead profits stabilise as year-long strike row draws to a close

30.11.17: The Go-Ahead Group’s trading has been in line with expectations across its rail business during the first four months of the year (2 July – 29 November) as the company seeks to put its year-long history of strike action behind it. ...

DfT reveals new franchising model for upcoming South Eastern contract

DfT reveals new franchising model for upcoming South Eastern contract

29.11.17: Plans revealed today by the DfT detail a 40,000-passenger capacity increase expected from the next operator of the South Eastern franchise. The new operator will also have to work under the new ‘one team’ model of franchising, w...

GTR opens third public consultation on £7bn Thameslink Programme

GTR opens third public consultation on £7bn Thameslink Programme

28.11.17: Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has opened its third consultation into proposed changes to the £7bn Thameslink Programme. The initial two phases of consultation attracted over 20,000 responses on questions surrounding extended routes a...

Nationalised ScotRail ‘could lead to instant 6% fare cut’

Nationalised ScotRail ‘could lead to instant 6% fare cut’

28.11.17: ScotRail could feasibly be nationalised by 2020, and doing so could give passengers an immediate 6% drop in fares, it has been claimed. Data provided by think tank Common Weal – commissioned by transport union TSSA – suggests th...

Rail needs to do ‘much more’ to improve assistance for disabled people

Rail needs to do ‘much more’ to improve assistance for disabled people

15.11.17: Much more needs to be done to improve the reliability, consistency and awareness of assistance available to rail passengers, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has said. Research by the regulator has found that 12% of passengers who booked assis...

Southern DOO trains comply with disabled passenger policy, ORR states

Southern DOO trains comply with disabled passenger policy, ORR states

13.11.17: Following a period of monitoring, the ORR is satisfied that Southern has continued to comply with its Disabled People’s Protection Policy following its move to driver-only operated (DOO) services. The regulator has conclude...

TSSA announces Christmas and New Year Virgin West Coast strike ballot

TSSA announces Christmas and New Year Virgin West Coast strike ballot

10.11.17: Members of the TSSA working at Virgin West Coast will be balloted on whether to strike over the Christmas and New Year period. Union members make up over 400 of the total staff on the service – which connects London with the north wes...

GTR could be broken up by DfT to combat repeated strike action

GTR could be broken up by DfT to combat repeated strike action

06.11.17: The Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise could be broken up in 2021 when its contract comes up for renewal, the government has said today. The move may help to reduce strike action across Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) n...

Arriva out of running for Wales and Border franchise

Arriva out of running for Wales and Border franchise

31.10.17: Arriva Trains Wales are no longer competing to run the next Wales and Border Franchise, after the company withdrew their bid today. The company – along with Abellio Rail Cymru, KeolisAmey and MTR Corporation – were invited to su...

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Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... more >
Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

21/09/2018Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

Plans to improve the Doncaster Railway Station have reached phase two of the redevelopment process. Work has begun on the plans, developed b... more >
Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

21/09/2018Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

Northern has unveiled its refurbished Class 158 digital train for passengers, ahead of the new fleet’s complete roll-out by the end of the ... 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 >