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Northern gets two-year extension

average, 200 more trains arrive on time every day now than in 2004. Ian Bevan, managing director

of Northern Rail, said: ‘We are delighted that the improvements we have made to the punctuality and reliability of our services have been recognised. ‘We’ve worked hard to turn

by Alan Salter

Britain’s biggest train operator has been given a two-year extension to its franchise after beating performance targets for its 2,500 daily train services across the north of England. Northern Rail, which carries 85 million passengers a year – up 34 per

cent since the franchise began in December 2004 – will now run the franchise until September 2013. The joint venture between

Serco and Abellio has improved the punctuality of its train services from 83.7 per cent at the start of the franchise to 91.6 per cent in the last 12 months – meaning that, on

this franchise from the “steady state” it was predicted to be into the thriving railway that it is today. As well as improving performance, we’ve invested over £100m with our partners to provide more and newer trains, and improve facilities at stations. We look forward to delivering even more for our passengers over the next three years.’ It is not known whether Bevan,

who is acting managing director, will become the permanent successor to Heidi Mottram, who left for Northumbrian Water a few months ago. Northern said its recruitment process is continuing.


TfL buys Tube Lines back


Tube Lines has been bought by Transport for London, marking the final chapter in the use of public private partnerships to upgrade the Tube. It was an experiment that ultimately failed. Tube Lines’ work to upgrade

the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern Lines had become bogged down in funding disputes, with Tube Lines

insisting that the work London Underground was asking for would cost £400m more than it was willing to pay. Chris Bolt, the PPP arbiter,

determined at the end of April that London Underground’s budget of £4bn for the work fell £400m short of what the work would cost to carry out.

SWT to save energy with regen braking

Regenerative braking is to be used on South West Trains’ electric rolling stock. Some 202 Desiro and Class 458 trains will be fitted with new software at a cost of £2.2m. South West Trains says it will save the equivalent of the power used by 3,500 homes for a year.

The company says CO2 emissions will be reduced by 8,000 tonnes, based on five per cent of the energy from braking being picked up by another train. Two Class 458 trains are testing the technology in passenger service on routes to Reading and Guildford. All 30 Alstom-built trains will be fitted by the end of May, followed by Siemens’ Desiro trains. SWT’s engineering

As a result of the impasse,

Transport for London, encouraged by mayor Boris Johnson, bought Amey and Bechtel’s shares in Tube Lines for £310m. The company will now operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL.

Amey will continue to work on the upgrades for the next seven-and- a-half years of the current contract. Bechtel will remain involved for an interim period. Under the terms of the PPP

agreement, Tube Lines’ contract was to run until 2033.

Introduced by Gordon Brown,

the scheme was always controversial and saw court challenges as Ken Livingstone and Transport for London tried to keep maintenance in-house.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

First Capital Connect driver John Rimington drives the first ever train onto Platform 0 at King’s Cross. Rimingon (right) is presented with a certificate from driver manager Bill Potter. The 63-year-old driver, who retires in June, began his railway career as a junior fire man at King’s Cross in 1962. Located at the east side of the station, the new platform was officially opened by transport secretary Philip Hammond on 20 May.

said: 'This deal is excellent news for London. Freed from the perverse pressures of the Byzantine PPP structure, I am confident that London Underground and private contractors are more than capable of delivering the improvements to London's transport network we need, on time and on budget.’

l See Wright Track, pages 14-15, for comment

director, Christian Roth, said: ‘We estimate our energy consumption on the suburban network, where the first trials are taking place, will be reduced by up to eight per cent. ‘As well as the obvious cost-

saving benefits, we are also ensuring that energy previously lost is being put to good use by recycling it and helping to power other trains.’ SWT is the last of the third- rail commuter operators to introduce regenerative braking. Southern completed installation on its fleet of Electrostars last autumn, and Southeastern is already using it on some services. When complete, 60 per cent of SWT’s fleet will use the system. The Desiro trains were built with the capability to return braking energy, but it is only now being brought into use. Converting the large fleet of older Class 455 inner suburban trains is not financially viable.

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