As a follow up to my previous Last Week In Trains post – this post brings news that last week High Speed 1 was bought by a consortium comprising Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. High Speed 1 was a government owned company. They’ve sold it off for 2.1bn. The private sector, in buying the asset, is effectively paying back the government, which will help debt recovery a wee bit. Analogous to buying a really, really expensive house – like the White House, were the White House worth quite a bit more than it is.
Trading stats from rail franchise Stagecoach suggest rail travel is continuing to beat the economic downturn ‘to meet its expectations of profitability’ for the year ending 30 April 2011. Stagecoach has a large share in Virgin Trains and owns South West Trains and East Midlands Trains. This ‘profitability’ may spark protest from rail users if fares rise (which I reported last week that they may do in two years time).
But the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) says the extra cash would be handed back to the government, as the operator’s agreements allow for the adjustment of payments to the Department of Transport if the RPI (prices index) changes.
On Friday, a cement mixer lorry crashed into a bridge in Oxshott, Surrey and subsequently fell onto the Guilford – Waterloo South West Trains passenger train passing below. The Lorry driver and one train passenger were taken to hospital with serious injuries and three other passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries. A relief such a catastrophe didn’t result in any fatalities.