Rail franchises operators & contracts

FirstGroup boss resigns after £327m loss

FirstGroup boss resigns after £327m loss

31.05.18: FirstGroup boss, Tim O’Toole, has stepped down with immediate effect, following the announcement of the train operator’s financial loss. In the year ending March 2018, the company reported a full-year loss of £327m – a v...

Grayling must ‘immediately intervene’ on Northern performance

Grayling must ‘immediately intervene’ on Northern performance

31.05.18: The government must escalate its response to the Northern rail “fiasco”, according to the mayor of Greater Manchester. Andy Burnham is calling on the transport secretary today to intervene after new figures showed that the franchise...

KeolisAmey JV awarded Wales and Borders franchise deal

KeolisAmey JV awarded Wales and Borders franchise deal

23.05.18: The Welsh Government is to award the contract to operate the new Wales and Borders franchise and the South Wales Metro to KeolisAmey, it has announced. Following the completion of a 10-day standstill period, the contract will run from 4 June th...

Every single service affected by major GTR timetable shakeup

Every single service affected by major GTR timetable shakeup

18.05.18: Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will change the times of every single service as part of its Rail Plan 20/20 programme. In order to run an additional 400 trains every day, the TOC will transform its entire timetable, starting from this Sunday, 2...

TfN seeking Northern improvement plan after Burnham slams TOC performance

TfN seeking Northern improvement plan after Burnham slams TOC performance

18.05.18: The chair of Transport for the North (TfN), John Cridland, has revealed that the organisation will seek to meet with Northern Rail boss David Brown to figure out an improvement plan to help mitigate the current performance problems that blight the...

Stagecoach: ‘Our plans offered good way forward, but we respect DfT decision’

Stagecoach: ‘Our plans offered good way forward, but we respect DfT decision’

16.05.18: Stagecoach’s chief executive, Martin Griffiths, argued the company’s plans to continue operating the East Coast franchise offered a “positive, value-for-money way forward for passengers” but assured that he respected the...

DfT to take over East Coast under new London North Eastern Railway brand

DfT to take over East Coast under new London North Eastern Railway brand

16.05.18: The current East Coast franchise will be scrapped on 24 June and replaced by a government team tasked with running passenger services until this can smoothly transition into the East Coast Partnership, which will bring together the public and pr...

Grayling due to pull the plug on East Coast franchise this week

Grayling due to pull the plug on East Coast franchise this week

15.05.18: Chris Grayling is due to scrap the East Coast franchise before the end of the week after operators Stagecoach and Virgin suffered heavy losses, it has been reported. Two sources told the Financial Times that the DfT is set to pull the plug...

FirstGroup shares crash as Apollo walks away from merger without deal

FirstGroup shares crash as Apollo walks away from merger without deal

09.05.18: A potential deal between US private equity firm Apollo and British rail and bus operator FirstGroup has collapsed after two approaches were turned down by the UK transport giant. FirstGroup shares fell by more than 10% on the London Stock E...

RSSB launches modernised supplier assurance system

RSSB launches modernised supplier assurance system

02.05.18: The RSSB has launched its new Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS), allowing the UK’s rail supplier assurance to be run by the industry under the supervision of the safety board. The new software platform is configur...

Probe launched into SWR and NR performance

Probe launched into SWR and NR performance

26.04.18: An independent review into South Western Railway’s (SWR) performance has been commissioned by the government. Transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has written a letter to MPs, in which he said that he has been “very disappointed&rdq...

Grayling threatened with legal action over East Coast rail franchise failings

Grayling threatened with legal action over East Coast rail franchise failings

20.04.18: Campaigners are threatening to take transport secretary Chris Grayling to court over his failure to stop the companies behind the failed Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) from bidding for other franchises in future. Bring Back British Rail ha...

TPE launches one of ‘biggest timetable changes the north has seen’

TPE launches one of ‘biggest timetable changes the north has seen’

10.04.18: TransPennine Express (TPE) has launched a new transformational timetable that it argues will deliver real benefits for communities across the north and into Scotland. The changes, which form part of the Great North Rail Project (GNRP), will com...

West Midlands Railway takes charge of Wolverhampton station

West Midlands Railway takes charge of Wolverhampton station

05.04.18: Wolverhampton station has officially been taken over by West Midlands Railway, replacing Virgin Trains. The changeover is part of a move towards more devolved transport services throughout the West Midlands, which Transport for West Midlands (T...

Companies invited to submit bids for West Coast Partnership

Companies invited to submit bids for West Coast Partnership

28.03.18: West Coast passengers will benefit from improved accessibility, simpler fares and improved compensation, transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced as he invited companies to bid for the brand-new franchise. Organisations have been invite...

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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 >