New trains, investment in infrastructure and hundreds of additional staff have been promised in the new 15-year Wales and Borders franchise. KeolisAmey, the same partnership which runs Manchester Metrolink and Docklands Light Railway, will take over the franchise later this...
Following a number of high-profile stories related to rail franchising, Paul Plummer, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, says that the way in which these contracts are let and managed needs to change. Train operators have played a crucial role...
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has previously indicated that the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise could be separated into two or more when the current contract held by operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) ends in 2021. This follows the...
The UK's rail franchising system has been described as "completely inadequate" and "broken" in a report by the Public Accounts Committee into the East Coast and the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchises. In the report, MPs said they were...
An artificial leg, pets and a clarinet; some of the most unusual items that have been left onboard train services in the UK. Gareth Ellis-Unwin trumped the lot when he stepped off a GWR train without his Oscar in February. After...
Open access operator Grand Central has started the consultation process to operate more services per day. If approved, Grand Central will operate six return services on its North East route rather than five, and six trains to London and five...
Serious questions are to be asked of Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), Network Rail and transport ministers over the failure of the East Coast franchise. That is the message from transport committee chair Lilian Greenwood who has launched an inquiry...
Arriva Trains Wales has completed a £500,000 refurbishment of its fleet of Class 142 and 143 Pacer DMUs. The 30 two-carriage trains, which operate on the Valley lines, have been repainted and have had free wi-fi installed too. In October, the existing...
Virgin Trains founder Richard Branson has defended the so-called government bailout of its East Coast franchise. Critics, including former Labour transport secretary Lord Andrew Adonis, have condemned the government's decision to change the model of the franchise three years before...
Stewart Thorpe attended the Rail Forum East Midlands (RFEM) annual conference to get a flavour of the region's big plans   It might be overshadowed by its West Midlands neighbour, which continues to press for great devolution and has positioned itself...

Strategic shake-up

Splitting up the Great Western franchise and creating a new West of England operator is one of several ideas put forward in the Government’s new Strategic Vision for Rail. The news was accompanied by an announcement that the Department for...
The Great Western and Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchises could be split under new government plans. Rail minister Paul Maynard said the scheme would "ensure every line, station and passenger remains central to the train operator’s strategy." If the plans...
The competition to find the next train operating company (TOC) to run the South Eastern franchise has been launched by the Department for Transport (DfT). The headline announcement is the appointment of a single director who will be responsible for...
Siemens workers have completed the first five refurbishments of TransPennine Express' (TPE) fleet of 51 three-carriage Class 185 trains. Each train is having new seating, carpets, larger tables, LED lighting and refitted toilets as well as USB and plug sockets...
The UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, says he is 'absolutely certain' that the South West route's Class 707 Desiro City trains will be taken on by another operator. The new operator of the South West franchise -...
East Midlands Trains (EMT) will now run services on the East Midlands franchise until at least August 2019 after the Department for Transport (DfT) took up an option to extend the contract for another year. The train operating company -...
Amey has become the first rail infrastructure company to be awarded a rail franchising pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) passport from the Department for Transport (DfT). On June 23, the DfT published bidder shortlists for the West Coast Partnership and future South Eastern franchise agreements....
Top rail and community leaders came together in Leeds last month to discuss new thinking about creating the sustainable railway of the future. Sustainability - how we live without creating hurt or damage - increasingly informs public opinion, politics, and...
Pledges to significantly improve services and buy new trains aren’t ‘PR fluff ’ but promises of real change, says Northern’s Alex Hynes (pictured right). On 1 April, Alex was joined by TransPennine Express managing director Leo Goodwin, David Hoggarth, director of...
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) chief executive Charles Horton talks to Marc Johnson about how the operator is addressing the service challenges posed by Thameslink’s vast infrastructure programme Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) can now rightly call itself the biggest rail franchise...
FirstGroup has managed to steady investor nervousness with news that it has won extensions to two of its franchises. The flagship operation, First Great Western (FGW), has been granted a four-to-five year extension and First TransPennine Express rail franchise a...

The role of open access

Britain’s rail network is full. Well that’s what we’re often told. The justification for major rail projects, like HS2, is that it will free up paths on already crowded main lines. To meet the rise in predicted demand for...
With its customary razzamatazz, the Virgin/Stagecoach operation took over East Coast on 1 March. An Intercity 225 in full Virgin East Coast livery arrived at King’s Cross station the following morning, trailing promises of extra staff, better training and...
The Auld Alliance looks set to ride again with the appointment of top French chef, Albert Roux, to spearhead Scots cuisine on the new Caledonian Sleeper. A fleet of 72 new carriages, divided into four trains with up-market cafés, couchettes...

RailStaff December: Railway royalty

https://issuu.com/railmedia/docs/railstaff-december-19

West Coast appointments

Christmas work