Sunday, 3 May 2009

National Express East Coast

After months of rumors do one of the rail franchises handing the keys back to one or more franchise, one has finally collapsed and has done a deal with the government. National Express East Coast franchise have has previous issues when GNER had to hand the franchise back due to its parent companies inability to guarantee premium payments. Two years ago National Express (NX) won the rights and begin running the services between London and Scotland along the East Coast, but the company has had negative press over its plans to cut jobs and services such as buffet cars in its trains due to struggling with its cost.

The deal for National Express to run the service as a management contract now means that NX can try to raise £400m to help stabilize the situation for its 3,100 staff and 17m annual passengers.

The full deal is yet to be settled with the agreement only at the outline stage but both commuters and staff will be worried about what the future is going to bring. It seems National Express's other franchises will be left alone which will come to relief of various groups. One of National Express's best franchise is c2c which has transformed the old LTS rail line and now is a by word for reliable and timely services.

This isn't the first time a franchisee has lost a franchise as Connex was stripped of its railway contracts which lead to the SRA (strategic Rail Authority) doing a management contact. With Southeastern this lead to improvements to the service before its was re let.

I leave you with the words of the DfT on the situation:
“All train-operating companies have regular meetings with the DfT and as a company we never talk about in public what we discuss in private,”
“As we have made clear on numerous occasions we do not renegotiate franchises.”
The original article is here

Rail deal sparks £400m cash call

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