Go-Ahead may be stripped of Thames Train franchise
Monday 08 November 1999
The accident was caused by a Thames Train passing a signal at red and colliding with a Great Western express travelling in the opposite direction. The drivers of both trains were killed.
Since the accident, it has emerged that the Thames Trains driver, Michael Hodder, 31, had only recently qualified and driven the route fewer than 15 times. About one in five of Thames Trains' 250 drivers have been newly recruited in the last year and many of those recruits are new to the rail industry.
Two inquiries are being conducted into the crash. The first, being carried out on behalf of Railtrack by a civil engineer Richard Bonham-Carter, is due to report by the end of the year. However, Lord Cullen's public inquiry into the accident is likely to take 18 months to complete.
A rail executive said: "It is hard to see them retaining the franchise. If the inquiry finds things wrong with their safety systems and driver training, then they will lose their licence."
The City believes the franchise is at risk. Since Paddington, shares in Go-Ahead have fallen 22 per cent, wiping almost pounds 100m from its stock market value. At last Friday's closing price of 665p, the group, which also owns the Thameslink franchise, is valued at pounds 330m.
It is thought unlikely that Thames Trains would be stripped off its licence before Lord Cullen produces his report unless dramatic evidence of safety shortcomings emerges as evidence is taken. But, even if Thames Trains does manage to hold onto its licence, rail industry executives question whether its franchise will be extended.
Sir Alastair Morton, the chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, and his chief executive, Mike Grant, have begun negotiations with the train operating companies with the aim of agreeing franchise extensions within the next six months in return for service improvements.
Observers believe it inconceivable that either of Go-Ahead's franchises would be renewed while the Paddington inquiry was still going on.
Go-Ahead's two franchises expire in 2004 and it is thought to be pressing for extensions of at least five years in both cases. A month before the Paddington crash Go-Ahead warned that it would not make any further investment in either Thames Trains or Thameslink unless the franchises were lengthened.
Go-Ahead said it was prepared to invest pounds 50m in Thameslink and pounds 10m in Thames Trains but only in return for franchise extensions or raised subsidies.
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...