NX investors wary of UK rail

01 March 2013

The chief executive of National Express (NX) says some investors in his company have ‘lost trust’ in the UK rail market because of this country’s franchising contortions. ‘Now even investors think it’s a nonsense arrangement,’ said ASLEF’s Mick Whelan. ‘Is there anyone out there who still think franchising is a good plan?'

NX says investors were put off by the West Coast Main Line franchise debacle last year and are now incensed that they face losing the £10 million plus the company spent bidding for Great Western. The government is not committed to reimbursing bidders’ costs.

NX boss Dean Finch summed up, ‘Investors have absolutely lost trust in UK rail, they are nervous of it, they are anxious about our investments in it, they see these volatile and arbitrary decisions by the DfT and are not enthusiastic supporters of the UK rail franchising system.’

Mick Whelan said that made a ‘full flush’ of objectors to the franchising game. ‘Taxpayers, staff and passengers have already condemned it and now we find that even shareholders don’t like it. The government stands more isolated on this issue than Vicky Pryce at a Chris Huhne social.’

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