News

The French could be running more of Britain’s transport network after state transport group Keolis/Eurostar was named one of three shortlisted bidders for the reprivatisation of the East Coast franchise.

Market Report: Spirent boosted as its US peer group turns it on

A positive read-across from two of its US peers raised investors' hopes ahead of Spirent Communications' update next month, pushing the company up 5.2p to 152.4p.

First Group profits on track

First Group has lifted half-year profits by 14 per cent after benefiting from improved trends in its UK bus and train businesses.

Go-Ahead poaches new chief executive from TfL

The chief executive of the rail and bus giant Go-Ahead, Keith Ludeman, is to be replaced by Transport for London's divisional head David Brown.

Business Diary: EasyJet lands its latest arrival

EasyJet wasted no time in replacing its head of public relations, Oliver Aust, when he announced his departure last month, and swooped to hire FirstGroup's Paul Moore, PR Week reveals. The airline's chief executive, Carolyn McCall, told the magazine: "His experience will be extremely valuable to easyJet". It certainly will – all that time he spent apologising for the shocking performance on FirstGroup's Thameslink rail routes will have prepared Moore for easyJet, which has its own scheduling difficulties from time to time.

FirstGroup to hit full-year targets

The bus and train operator FirstGroup issued a bullish trading update yesterday, telling investors it was on track to hit full-year targets.

O'Toole follows Moir Lockhead at FirstGroup

Sir Moir Lockhead is stepping down after 21 years as the chief executive of the transport giant FirstGroup, to be replaced by the former London Underground boss Tim O'Toole.

Founder of FirstGroup to step down

The founder of transport giant FirstGroup today announced plans to step down from his role as chief executive after 21 years with the company.

Egon Zehnder to lead search for new Network Rail boss

Headhunters briefed to find a chief executive with experience in a complex international company

Eurotunnel snaps up rail freight operator for £31m

The operator of the Channel Tunnel is buying Britain's third-largest rail freight operator from the transport giant FirstGroup for £31m.

Public cutbacks knock profits at FirstGroup

FirstGroup suffered a slump in profits yesterday after higher fuel costs and public spending cutbacks dented full-year figures. As the largest provider of student transport in North America, with a fleet of around 60,000 yellow school buses, FirstGroup has felt the impact of "unprecedented levels" of pressure on school board budgets.

FirstGroup strikes gold with £20m London Olympics deal

FirstGroup dealt a blow to its major rivals yesterday by landing the £20m contract to provide the buses and coaches that will transport spectators to the London 2012 Olympics.

Local bus industry faces Competition Commission probe

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is referring the local bus industry to the Competition Commission over concerns about high prices and poor quality of service.

Competition watchdog to probe bus services

The Office of Fair Trading today referred local bus services to the Competition Commission and warned that limited competition was pushing up prices for bus users.

National Express gets 90 per cent backing for rights issue

National Express secured overwhelming support for its £360m rights issue as the Cosmen family backed the move despite public opposition to the strategy, paving the way for a much-needed restructuring of the group.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there