South Western Railway warned it could be placed in public hands" width="976" height="549">
The transport secretary said South Western Railway's performance was "significantly below expectation"
A rail firm could be taken in to public ownership should it fail financially, the government has said.Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said South Western Railway's (SWR) franchise was now "not sustainable in the long term"The company recently declared a
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said SWR had "not yet failed to meet their financial commitments" but the department "must prepare suitable contingency measures".
'No impact on operations'
He said poor punctuality and reliability combined with slower revenue growth has led to the operator's financial performance being "significantly below expectation" since the franchise began in August 2017.Mr Shapps said contingency measures would include a new short-term contract with SWR, with tightly defined performance requirements.SWR's operations could also be moved to the Operator of Last Resort (OLR), a public sector operator wholly owned by the Department for Transport.He insisted the moves would "not impact on the railway's day-to-day operations" for passengers and staff.Earlier this month SWR's accounts, for the year ending 31 March 2019, showed a loss after tax of ?136.9m.The firm operates routes between London Waterloo, Reading, Bristol, Exeter, Weymouth, and Portsmouth, as well as Island Line on the Isle of Wight.SWR's owners FirstGroup and MTR, who have been approached for comment, were awarded the franchise in August 2017, after outbidding previous operator Stagecoach.
South Western Railway
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