Infrastructure works deferred;
No date for Super Express delivery;
Virgin Trains East Coast making losses

 

 

Stagecoach has warned that its Virgin Trains East Coast franchise no longer expects to provide planned extra services, faster journey times and new routes in 2019. Network Rail has told the company that infrastructure upgrades to support the new timetable, including Kings Cross remodelling and electrification works, will become the latest rail projects to be deferred and de-scoped.

In addition, a Stagecoach spokesman told Passenger Transport that new Hitachi Super Express trains (pictured above) required for the new timetable would be received later than expected. He added that at present it is unclear when the planned faster, more frequent services on the East Coast Main Line will start.

We don’t know when things are going to happen. All we know is that we won’t be getting what was signed up to.

“We don’t know when things are going to happen. All we know is that we won’t be getting what was signed up to,” the spokesman said.

As a result, Stagecoach expects to negotiate a new contract with the Department for Transport with reduced premium payments that take into account a revised schedule for capacity and journey time improvements.

The situation overshadowed Stagecoach’s announcement that VTEC has started making losses due to patronage and revenue growth falling significantlybehind the level forecast in Stagecoach/Virgin’s bid for the franchise. In its full-year results statement, Stagecoach made provisions for losses of £84.1m in the two years to April 2019.

The company said initial discussions with the DfT indicated that new terms for the remainder of the franchise – 2019-23 – would be agreed over the next year with profit margins set at a level similar to a direct award contract.

 

This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

DON’T MISS OUT – GET YOUR COPY! – click here to subscribe!