FirstGroup's rail profits on track

FirstGroup said yesterday profits from its rail division surged but warned that demand for bus travel is being hit by the worsening economy.

Operating profits at its rail division, which runs First Great Western, TransPennine Express, First Capital Connect and First ScotRail, increased 15 per cent to £55.7m in the six months to 30 September after it benefited from higher prices and increased demand as people ditched their cars because of rising petrol prices.