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2001-11-07 STG-001
Stagecoach Group

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Stagecoach study into vertical integration for rail


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Stagecoach Group

Stagecoach study into vertical integration for rail
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date
7 November 2001
source Stagecoach Group
type Press release



Stagecoach Group, one of Britain's biggest train operators, said today that it was putting together proposals for more vertical integration of Britain's railways.

Stagecoach, which runs South West Trains, Britain's biggest rail franchise, and is also part owner of long distance operator Virgin Trains, said that experts within the group believed that integration between train operations and the running of the track would be safer, and more efficient, resulting in better service for passengers and better value for taxpayers.

The group is preparing a paper to be presented to Transport Secretary Stephen Byers later this month outlining the options for a radical change in the structure for running Britain's railways.

Mr Brian Souter, Stagecoach chairman, said that the proposals would restore the close relationship between wheel and track which existed in the days of British Rail, without losing the competitive advantages and private funding which privatisation had brought. Train operators would both maintain and run the track in their franchise areas, without taking ownership away from the proposed new track company.

"Responsibility for wheel and track should not have been split so dramatically at privatisation," he said. "We, the train operators, are closest to the passenger, and we understand our passengers' frustration at the events of the past few years, and the poor quality of service which has resulted.

"We at Stagecoach Group are delivering more new trains than any other operator, with complete new fleets ordered for Virgin Cross Country and West Coast Mainline, and a record £1 billion order to remove the old slam-doors from South West Trains. "We are delivering the trains, but who is delivering the track? Like all operators, we have been dismayed at the quality of track under the present system."

He said that the solution to Britain's railway problems would be found within the railway industry. "There remains decades of railway expertise within the train operators' management teams, and Railtrack's administration allows those experts a last chance to get Britain's railways right."

Mr Souter said that the Stagecoach study was likely to show that in certain franchises, including South West Trains and Scotrail, vertical integration would allow for better track maintenance and service to passengers, whilst the interests of other operators in these regions would be protected by the rail regulator. Ownership of the track would remain with the track authority.

The Stagecoach Group chairman was speaking in Edinburgh at the naming of the "Stagecoach Voyager", the first of Virgin's new fleet of Cross Country trains to take passengers north of the Forth Bridge.

Financial Services Act 1986 - While Stagecoach Group plc considers that this data has been validated to a reasonable standard, having regard to its intended use, no reliance should be placed upon it for the purpose of making any investment decision in relation to Stagecoach Group plc or any other company.


Railhub Archive ::: 2001-11-07 STG-001





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