National Express pens contract to run two German train routes

Marion Dakers
NATIONAL Express is exporting the British rail experience to two train routes in North Rhine Westphalia, signing contracts yesterday in what the UK ambassador to Germany described as “a proud day for British business”.

The company will run the regional services for 15 years from 2015 under the contract, taking over from incumbent state-owned operator Deutsche Bahn and generating around €1.6bn (£1.3bn) in revenues.

“The contract is a vote of confidence from our German partners and a testimony to the strength of British transport companies,” said ambassador Simon McDonald in a statement.

National Express has a year left on its C2C rail franchise in Britain and is in the running to operate London’s Crossrail when the route starts to open in 2015.

Arriva, owned by Deutsche Bahn, is also among the four companies shortlisted.

National Express’ East Anglia franchise ended last year, cutting its rail revenues by almost half.

“As well as confirming our entry into the German rail market, [the contracts] also demonstrate how our success in running the UK’s best performing rail franchise is opening up new market opportunities abroad,” said chief exec Dean Finch.

Analysts at RBC said when the German deal was first announced in February that it “represents a small but useful stepping stone into Europe’s largest transport market”.