Rail franchises operators & contracts

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...

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...

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North of England leaders demand ‘Northern Budget’ to boost region

16/08/2019North of England leaders demand ‘Northern Budget’ to boost region

Key leaders from across the North of England have called for Government commitment to a ‘Northern Budget’ which could be used to deli... more >
Metrolink customers complete 170k trips using contactless system

16/08/2019Metrolink customers complete 170k trips using contactless system

Since its launch four weeks ago, more than 170,000 journeys have been made using the new contactless payment system on the Metrolink network... more >
Government announces £25m Brexit high-speed medicines train

15/08/2019Government announces £25m Brexit high-speed medicines train

In the event of a No Deal Brexit, the Government has announced the setting up of a high-speed train service to ferry medicine to the UK from Fran... 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

Network Rail’s Anna-Jane Hunter on, NPR, TRU, HS2 and supply chain opportunities

12/08/2019Network Rail’s Anna-Jane Hunter on, NPR, TRU, HS2 and supply chain opportunities

Anna- Jane Hunter, is a ‘proud northerner’ and is passionate about continuing the investment and success story of rail across the North.  She plays a key role in working with government and northern leaders to enable the network to carry on thriving. We caught up with Anna-Jane, for her expertise and insight into connecti... more >
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The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

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interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >