Rail franchises operators & contracts

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...

Paddington: New GWR Hitachi train takes down rail network whilst on its test run

Paddington: New GWR Hitachi train takes down rail network whilst on its test run

17.10.18: A brand-new test train has “severely damaged” overhead electric wires, causing massive disruption to all trains going into and out of London Paddington. One of Great Western Railway’s (GWR’s) new fleet of Hitachi tra...

May 2018 timetable: ORR launches probe into potential GTR and Northern licence breach

May 2018 timetable: ORR launches probe into potential GTR and Northern licence breach

05.10.18: The ORR has opened an investigation into whether GTR and Northern breached their requirements to do everything reasonably practice to provide accurate and timely information to passengers in the run-up to, and during, the May 2018 timetable fias...

New Caledonian Sleeper carriages delayed until next spring

New Caledonian Sleeper carriages delayed until next spring

02.10.18: The introduction of the new Caledonian Sleeper carriages, which were expected to be in operation by the end of this month, has been further delayed until May 2019. The carriages are to include en-suite bathrooms and double beds and will ope...

Exclusive: Shutting door to nationalisation ‘fetters’ rail review and constrains expert advice, says Burnham

Exclusive: Shutting door to nationalisation ‘fetters’ rail review and constrains expert advice, says Burnham

28.09.18: The Greater Manchester mayor has revealed he was disappointed in transport secretary Chris Grayling’s rail review, arguing that the government is limiting the review leaders by ruling out the possibility of renationalisation. In an ex...

ORR report: ‘No one took charge’ in May timetable chaos, ‘everyone made mistakes’

ORR report: ‘No one took charge’ in May timetable chaos, ‘everyone made mistakes’

20.09.18: A scathing report into the May timetable chaos has blasted transport secretary Chris Grayling, Network Rail, and the DfT’s handling of the widespread crisis, claiming “no one took charge” when issues started to arise. The...

DfT quietly pulls the plug on CrossCountry franchise competition

DfT quietly pulls the plug on CrossCountry franchise competition

20.09.18: The government has decided to pull the plug on the CrossCountry franchise competition as a result of its rail review announcement today. Because of the franchise’s “unique geographic nature,” running from Aberdeen to Penza...

Major 2019 rail review led by BA boss will ‘leave no stone unturned’

Major 2019 rail review led by BA boss will ‘leave no stone unturned’

20.09.18: In response to the May timetable disruptions and longstanding concerns over what has been repeatedly branded a “broken” franchising system, the government has decided to formally launch a comprehensive review of the rail industry in...

Backlash at rail boss Richard Branson as he says lateness ‘annoys’ him

Backlash at rail boss Richard Branson as he says lateness ‘annoys’ him

13.09.18: Rail passengers took to Twitter to express anger at Virgin Trains boss Richard Branson, who tweeted: “There’s very little that annoys me in life, but people turning up late really does.” There’s very little that anno...

East Coast fiasco: MPs decide who is to blame for ‘overoptimistic’ franchise

East Coast fiasco: MPs decide who is to blame for ‘overoptimistic’ franchise

12.09.18: Virgin, Stagecoach and the DfT all share blame for the quick failure of the East Coast franchise earlier this year – with the first two drafting up a financially risky bid with very little resilience, and the latter setting unrealistic ben...

EU sets final deadline for Siemens and Alstom merger

EU sets final deadline for Siemens and Alstom merger

07.09.18: The European Commission has set a deadline of 28 January for the proposed rail merger of Siemens and Alstom. The deal was agreed last September but has been met by objections from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the O...

Go-Ahead blames timetable fiasco on ‘industry failure’ as firm set to pay out millions

Go-Ahead blames timetable fiasco on ‘industry failure’ as firm set to pay out millions

06.09.18: The operator of Southern and Thameslink has revealed it expects to pay out “millions” in compensation to passengers affected by its May timetable chaos. The Go-Ahead Group said it is contacting tens of thousands of affected cust...

Potential rail franchise shake-up in the works as PM pushes for review

Potential rail franchise shake-up in the works as PM pushes for review

05.09.18: The government is considering leading what has been described as the biggest review of the UK’s rail franchising system for two decades in efforts to prevent collapses such as that of the East Coast franchise back in May. According to...

LNER: Business as usual

LNER: Business as usual

04.09.18: On 24 June, the operation of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) service transferred from Virgin Trains East Coast to the newly-created London North Eastern Railway (LNER). David Horne, its managing director, talks about the first few months and wha...

DfT won’t split up Great Western, but calls for ‘more decentralisation’

DfT won’t split up Great Western, but calls for ‘more decentralisation’

28.08.18: There has been little public and organisational support for the idea of splitting the Great Western franchise and creating a separate operation for the West of England, a consultation has revealed – so the government has announced it will...

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Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... 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

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
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Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >

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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 >