The British government will take over running London & South Eastern Railway (LSER, trading as Southeastern) services due to LSER not declaring 25 million GBP of taxpayer money.
The Operator of Last Resort will start running services on 17 October and focus on punctuality and reliability.
The government called the actions by LSER a “significant breach of the franchise agreement”, in particular the franchise agreement’s ‘good faith’ obligation in relation to financial matters. These findings follow an investigation by the Department for Transport. LSER accumulated these 25 million GPB of taxpayer funding since October 2014 and these funds should have been returned.
So far, 25m GBP has been reclaimed. The owning group is investigating all related historic contract issues with LSER further. Once these are completed, the government will look into further options for enforcement action, including statutory financial penalties under the Railways Act 1993.
There are to be no changes to fares, tickets and services. The move will also not affect jobs.
“There is clear, compelling and serious evidence that LSER have breached the trust that is absolutely fundamental to the success of our railways. When trust is broken, we will act decisively.
“The decision to take control of services makes unequivocally clear that we will not accept anything less from the private sector than a total commitment to their passengers and absolute transparency with taxpayer support.
““Under the new operator, we will prioritise the punctual, reliable services passengers deserve, rebuild trust in this network, and the delivery of the reforms set out in our Plan for Rail – to build a modern railway that meets the needs of a nation.”
The Operator of Last Resort comprises experienced railway managers who are already in charge of LNER and Northern.
The government said this move to OLR control was temporary and that it would move services back into the private sector in the future, but under a Passenger Services Contract – essentially a concessions-based model that puts revenue risk with the government rather than the operator.
HS2 has signed the Rail Supply Group’s Work Pipeline Visibility Charter and will share its rail systems' technical specifications publicly.
The ‘High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill’ – HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg – will be introduced in parliament today (24 January 2022).
Network Rail is about to start a new trial project to improve lineside biodiversity on the West Highland Line.
As the first phase of the Elizabeth line trial operations comes to an end, passenger services are set to begin in the first half of 2022.
HS2 has chosen TK Elevator to manufacture and install approximately 160 lifts and 130 escalators at its four main stations.
Overnight engineering work begins on 24 January to improve the railway line between Dawlish and Holcombe in Devon.
HS2 archaeologists have excavated a vast roman settlement in Northamptonshire - one of over 100 sites HS2 has examined since 2018.
HS2 has published its Net Zero Carbon Plan, which sets out how it plans to make the project net zero carbon from 2035.
HS2 has revealed the first images of its 1.5 mile-long Greatworth tunnel - one of three ‘green tunnels’ to be built in Bucks and Notts.
Experts from industry and academia are developing an on-board system that can identify low adhesion hazards such as leaves on the line.
Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has launched a recruitment drive to support HS2 construction works planned for 2022 and beyond.
Network Rail has begun track, bridge and station works designed to improve services for travellers between London and Anglia.
Britain: There have been no rail services on Christmas Day for 40 years and once again Network Rail has delivered a swathe of upgrades.
Jonn Elledge gets into the Christmas spirit and does some finger-pointing as to who is really to blame for the state of Britain's railways.
Platform construction has started at Winslow as part of the East West Rail project. 500 precast concrete platform units will be laid.
Electrification of the railway line between Kettering and Market Harborough on the Midland Main Line to begin on 24 December 2021.
The first of 56 giant concrete piers for the Colne Valley Viaduct has been cast. Once complete, this will be the UK's longest rail bridge.
Engineering works will take place at Salisbury to check the alignment of the new track laid after the collision at Fisherton Tunnel.
Siemens Mobility has been awarded the contract to deliver signalling works for the Carstairs remodelling project in Scotland.
The contract to design, build and maintain the HS2 rolling stock fleet for Phase 1 London-Birmingham has gone to the Hitachi Rail-Alstom JV.
Transport for the North (TfN) has launched a transport decarbonisation strategy for the north of England - the first of its kind.
As part of an initiative to help tackle period poverty, Network Rail has begun offering free sanitary products at Leeds station.
The first tunnel boring machine working on HS2 in the Midlands launched on 2 December, excavating a one-mile tunnel in Warwickshire.
Arriva Group, which owns the Chiltern Railways operating company, has signed a six-year National Rail Contract with the DfT.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has taken delivery of the first of 35 Stadler Class 231 FLIRT trains ahead of testing.
Stanton Precast has been awarded the contract to deliver three 'green tunnels' for HS2 by the main works contractor EKFB.
The ORR has published its Rail Industry Finance report for 2020–21, showing that the sector is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Network Rail is creating a special bridge for endangered wild hazel dormice in Lancashire in a bid to grow their populations.
The trial operations phase of the Elizabeth line has now begun. This is the final stage of the project before the line opens in 2022.
Work on HS2’s Old Oak Common 850-metre-long station box has begun. The reinforced concrete structure will form the station's frame and base.
Regular train services resumed on the Dartmoor Line between Exeter and Okehampton this past weekend after a 50-year hiatus.
The Integrated Rail Plan published today, 18 November 2021, announces a huge slash in new railway lines being built in England.
Following the collision between a SWR train and a GWR train on 31 October, the line is set to reopen to passenger traffic on 16 November.
Jonn Elledge laments COP26's focus on electric vehicles to the exclusion of all other modes of transport, including the cleanest of them all.
For Transport Day at COP26 (10 Nov 2021), UITP and UIC have released a joint statement urging a focus on rail and public transport.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at the development of 10 three-car hydrogen trains for the UK.
Hitachi Rail and Angel Trains have agreed to retrofit batteries on to TransPennine Express Nova 1 intercity trains.
The Office of Rail and Road has published its Signalling Market Study, launched in November 2020, to improve competition in the sector in GB.
Hitachi Rail and ScottishPower have signed a three-year deal for 100 percent renewable electricity (wind, solar, hydro-electric).
East Midlands Railway's Eastcroft depot near Nottingham is being upgraded to the tune of two million GBP. Works will be complete in June 2022.
The RAIB said wheel slide was at play in the collision between a SWR and a GWR service at Salisbury Tunnel Junction on 31 October 2021.
Network Rail and GWR are trialling a new information service designed to enable passengers to make more informed decisions.
Commuting into London lags behind rest of the UK says RDG, putting the recovery of London’s shops, theatres, restaurants and bars at risk.
The Railway Industry Association is asking the UK Government to urgently publish an update of its Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline.
A study commissioned by the RDG has found that building the UK’s net zero railway could lead to the creation of approximately 6,000 jobs.
HS2 has published a shortlist of bidders for the Phase 2a Design and Delivery Partner contract. The winner will be announced next summer.
The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has set out six key actions for UK Government ahead of its Spending Review next week.
A new report says that protecting light rail services is key to ensuring towns and cities recover from the impact of Covid-19.
London’s Night Tube will resume service on the Central and Victoria lines from 27 December on Saturdays and Sundays.
Southeastern services begin under the government's Operator of Last Resort following last month's franchise breach announcement.
In this month's column, Jonn Elledge muses on the future of HS2's eastern leg and the political tug of war taking place behind the scenes.
Next month the first phase of industry engagement on the UK’s new passenger service contracts (PSCs) will begin.
Network Rail has awarded Hitachi Rail and Linbrooke S a contract to design a digital signalling solution for the Gloucester area.
After a 50-year hiatus, the Dartmoor Line will resume regular passenger services between Okehampton and Exeter St Davids next month.
New figures from the Office of Rail and Road show that UK rail travel started to rebound between April and June 2021.
A footbridge made from super-strong fibre-reinforced plastic has been installed in Bicester to replace a footpath level crossing.
Scotland’s First Minister has said that decarbonising transport, including rail services, can help reduce the threat of climate change.
HS2 tunnel boring machine ‘Florence’ has passed the one mile mark, cutting through a mix of chalk and flint beneath the Chiltern hills.
Network Rail has announced a £25m plan to protect the Newport-Gloucester line from further damage caused by extreme weather.
Vivarail’s next-gen battery train will be launched at COP26 this November, and will run daily services throughout the event.
HS2 has invited six bidders to tender for a major two-part enabling works contract for its recently approved Phase 2a section.
The amount of freight moved across the Uk's railway has returned to pre-pandemic levels according to new Office of Rail and Road statistics.
The Chair of the Williams Rail Review warns it’s now or never to radically overhaul Britain’s confusing and outdated rail fares system.
Transport for London (TfL) has opened the new extension to the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea Power Station.
TfL's recent ad campaign to get passengers back using its trains and buses is a symptom of its underlying funding woes, writes Jonn Elledge.
A new report showcases UK rail as a major economic sector that’s driving growth, investment and jobs right across the United Kingdom.
Network Rail has completed upgrades at Hayes & Harlington station ahead of the Elizabeth line opening in the first half of next year.
One year on from the start of phase one's construction, HS2 has announced that 20,000 people are now working on the high-speed rail project.
New research by the Rail Delivery Group has highlighted the negative effect new commuting habits could have on city centre economies.
HS2 has confirmed the shortlist of bidders to build its control centre and rolling stock maintenance depot.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its interim report into the cracks found in Hitachi's Class 800 trains.
RAIB has made recommendations to London Underground in its report into a fatal accident that took place at Waterloo Underground station.
Network Rail's completed signalling work on new track near Peterborough that will divert freight trains under the East Coast Main Line.
New open access operator Lumo will offer direct, fully electric rail services between London and Edinburgh starting at £14.90 for a single.
The upgrade works at Bristol East Junction have been completed with full train services at Bristol Temple Meads having been resumed.
Network Rail has chosen Thales Ground Transportation to develop and trial fibre-optic acoustic sensing technology.
HS2 Ltd has published revised images of the Adelaide Road headhouse in Camden, after changes were made to the design.
National Rail has launched Alert Me by WhatsApp, which gives passengers real-time personalised travel information via the messaging app.
Images of HS2’s Chesham Road rural headhouse, which will provide emergency access to the 10-mile-long Chiltern tunnel, has been unveiled.
Network Rail is delivering works to prevent the tracks between Crewe and Chester from flooding as part of the Great North Rail Project.
23 new signals and 109 pieces of associated signalling equipment have been installed around Trafford Park under the Great North Rail Project.
The companies shortlisted to build HS2's Interchange Station in Solihull have been named by HS2 Ltd. The contract is to be awarded in 2022.
Network Rail’s southern region has invested over £1.8bn in the railway to support the UK’s mission to ‘build back better’.
The 13-mile electrification project between Wigan and Bolton has been given the go-ahead by the British government.
Specialist divers are pouring underwater concrete to protect two major West Coast main line railway viaducts in Carlisle.
Data from the UK rail industry shows bank holiday weekend ticket sales to seaside destinations have surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
Leaders from across Yorkshire and the North East of England have contributed to a report demonstrating the importance of HS2's Eastern Leg.
Major railway upgrades have now been completed in Manchester as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).
UK: The Department for Transport, Network Rail and the Office for Rail and Road have developed a Better Value Rail toolkit.
Special rail services have run between Newcastle and Morpeth in advance of the reintroduction of passenger trains on the Northumberland Line.
The track upgrade works at Bristol East Junction have reached their halfway point. Work is scheduled to be completed on 3 September 2021.
Transport for Wales has signed an agreement with Colas Rail UK for the purchase of Pullman Rail Ltd, which operates from its Cardiff depot.
SCS JV has signed the first of two contracts for the production of tunnel segments that will be used to construct HS2’s London tunnels.
Work begins to link the South Wales Metro Control Centre to the rail network ahead of the arrival of the new fleet of metro tram-trains.
In a UK first, on-site 3D reinforced concrete printing will be deployed by HS2's London tunnels contractor SCS JV.
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have developed an algorithm that can cut train delays, allowing services to recover faster.
Hybrid cars built in the Midlands will soon be carried to continental Europe via an eco-locomotive that runs on hydro-treated vegetable oil.
A special event has taken place to mark 20 years of operation by the Voyager and SuperVoyager Intercity fleets.
With the UK’s House of Commons summer recess now underway, the RIA's warning of a summer of uncertainty could now become a reality.
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