Swiss Rail deal poses fresh threat to Go-Ahead

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The Independent Online

Go-Ahead, the embattled owner of Thames Trains, was facing a fresh threat yesterday after Swiss Rail confirmed it is teaming up with the construction company John Laing to bid for the franchise.

Go-Ahead, the embattled owner of Thames Trains, was facing a fresh threat yesterday after Swiss Rail confirmed it is teaming up with the construction company John Laing to bid for the franchise.

The Swiss Rail-Laing partnership said it also planned to bid for the newly created Wessex franchise, which would run trains between the West Midlands and the south coast. If the Swiss bid for Thames Trains succeeds then the franchise would be integrated with John Laing's existing Chiltern Trains franchise, which operates out of Marylebone station, in London.

Go-Ahead is currently the subject of a hostile £326m bid from the French group C3D. It is bidding for the South Central commuter franchise in competition with the current operator Connex. But there is speculation that it could lose the Thames Train franchise following the Ladbroke Grove disaster last October.

Swiss Rail, which has a 99 per cent punctuality record and operates the same timetable 365 days a year, said it would invest heavily in the two franchises if its bid succeeded.

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