EU set to let Deutsche Bahn buy EWS

09 November 2007

Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German railroad firm, has won conditional permission from the European Commission to buy the UK’s largest rail freight company English Welsh & Scottish (EWS).

 

Up until now the EU was concerned that the move could harm rail freight in Europe – and especially in France where EWS also operate. The Commission noted that because DB is state-owned, it might lack incentives to compete in the French market, which EWS has recently entered, and rail freight could be decimated.

 

However, the issue now appears to be resolved because DB have said that they are ‘committed to fulfill EWS's expansion plans in France in the next five years through investments in key assets (locomotives) and personnel as set out in the EWS business plan and to deploy these in France’.

 

DB will also give access to EWS driver training schools and maintenance facilities in France for third-party rail operators, except the French incumbent, SNCF. ASLEF will continue the pressure for the new owners to begin updating the very old and inadequate freight loco cabs they may soon own

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