Key rail bidders question new structure
Roger Salmon, the rail regulator: bidders believe the train operators should control track, stations and signalling, too
Saturday 29 July 1995
As the bid deadline for the franchises for running the first three passenger rail services closed, Sea Containers, the shipping group, said that assets run by Railtrack - track, signalling and stations - should be put back under the control of the train operators.
Stagecoach, the quoted bus company which pre-qualified for all three franchises, also said it was concerned about being unable to control track and signalling, and saw the next few months as an opportunity to negotiate a solution.
Their attitudes are bound to embarrass Sir George Young, the transport minister, as the Government continues to defend the structure of the complex rail privatisation against political and business attacks.
Railtrack is slotted for a pounds 2.5bn flotation next spring, and the Government is fighting to keep to the timetable.
Sea Containers, one of more than six groups believed to have pre-qualified by yesterday's deadline, said it was interested in two of the franchises - Great Western Trains and South West Trains. It was not interested in the third franchise, LTS Rail, which operates services from London to Southend and Tilbury.
In a surprise announcement, Sea Containers said it would not bid for South West Trains alone. While Great Western could be run as a separate entity, South West was burdened with heavy loss-making short haul commuter services.
James Sherwood, president of Sea Containers, said "the great unknown" was Railtrack. "It is worrying for the train operator not to have the track, signalling and stations used by it under its direct control."
If Sea Containers' bid were successful it would try to lease these assets "on a full repairing basis because maintenance and operation could then be assured at the lowest cost".
Brian Cox, who heads Stagecoach's rail interests, said: "We would like to see Railtrack decentralised."
However, the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising, which is overseeing the bid process, is unlikely to agree to lease Railtrack assets to the train operators or see the structure broken up. Sea Containers' move is likely to be seen as a sighting shot to win more limited concessions from Railtrack.
Opraf yesterday refused to reveal bidders, but other bidders are thought to include London & Continental, a consortium which includes National Express and Virgin Group.
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Ellen DeGeneres leads Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany in revealing game of Never Have I Ever
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...