The Anonymous Widower

Are These Two Stories Related?

These are two stories recently published in Railway Gazette.

Deutsche Bahn Sells Arriva Businesses To Private Equity Holding Company, which starts with this paragraph.

Deutsche Bahn has reached agreement to sell its Arriva local transport activities in Denmark, Poland and Serbia to München-based private equity holding company Mutares SE & Co KGaA.

That is fairly clear and is probably related with the German government’s desire for DB to concentrate on its core business.

RENFE Looks At Entering UK Rail Market Through Open Access Partnership, which starts with this paragraph.

Open access passenger service developer Grand Union Trains is working with Spain’s national operator RENFE and private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners on a proposed service between London and Wales.

That also is fairly clear and would bring competition to services to South Wales.

The article also says the following.

  • RENFE seem to be expanding into partnerships to run services outside Spain.
  • A parkway station at Felindre will be build to avoid the reverse at Swansea, that would save 20 mins.
  • It will be a high quality service with new electro-diesel trains.
  • Four trains will be needed.
  • A 2025 start is envisaged.

Will this partnership with Grand Union Trains proceed with the development of Grand Union Trains’ London and Stirling service?

I have some thoughts and questions.

Will Deutsche Bahn Sell Other Arriva Businesses?

I think this is a reasonable question to ask, especially, as Deutsche Bahn owns two Open Access Operators in the UK; Chiltern Railways and Grand Central Trains.

  • Both operators have a good reputation.
  • Both operators need to decarbonise, either by updating their current stock or buying new trains.
  • Both operators have solid niche markets, where they are often responsible for the stations.
  • Both operators have expansion plans.

Would RENFE and Serena Industrial Partners be interested in taking over Arriva UK and developing the business?

The Talgo Factory At Longannet

I believe that there is reason to believe that one of Talgo’s reasons for a factory in Scotland, is that it could have been used to build Russian and dual-gauge trains for Eastern Europe. The trains would have been delivered by ferry from Rosyth.

There is also the not-small matter of the fleet for Rail Baltica, for which Talgo will surely be a bidder.

But Russia’s attack on Ukraine has scuppered that plan, or at least delayed it for a few years. But now, there could be a much larger market for trains in Eastern Europe and especially Ukraine.

If RENFE Acquire Open Access Operators In The UK, They Will Need New Trains

They will certainly need new trains for the South Wales operations, if they go ahead, but if they were to decarbonise Chiltern and Grand Central, the order could be substantial.

With one Spanish train factory in the UK and another a possibility, I would suspect any train order would go to a Spanish train-builder.

If the orders fell right, could we see Talgo’s factory at Longannet built after all?

October 1, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. on Felindre, I think the RG article is misleading. This is indeed ‘envisaged’, but atm it’s part of TfW’s ’emerging priorities’ for Swansea Bay metro for 2029 https://tfw.wales/projects/metro/future-developments/west-wales ‘Emerging priorities’ is classic planner-speak, which I think means ‘we may do this; then again, we may not’. It seems to me very unlikely that this will be available for when the open-access route opens mid-decade.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 2, 2022 | Reply

    • There is one big factor, that will effect the Swansea Bay Metro.

      That is the development of the massive floating wind farms in the Celtic Sea, where it is likely that a total of 50 GW or more of electricity generation capacity will be developed. The initial target appears to be 4 GW by 2035 to kick-start the development.

      I am sure that a Swansea Bay Metro will be needed to provide transport for workers on what will be one of the largest construction projects in Europe.

      Comment by AnonW | October 2, 2022 | Reply

  2. A slight correction.Grand Central is Arriva’s only open access operator.They also own Chiltern and Cross Country franchises.

    Comment by Hugh Steavenson | October 3, 2022 | Reply

  3. As franchises are disappearing, I think all the current operators, particularly the overseas ones, will be reviewing their participation in the new contracts, depending on how they see the returns as fitting in (or not) with their overall strategy.

    The manufacturers have a different concern, namely Brexit. Hitachi Rail’s boss commented recently that this has made using British factories for manufacturing trains for export to EU countries much less attractive. The British market is still large enough to support several train factories, particularly as diesel trains have to be replaced. But if you want to centralise train-making for EU countries, GB is no longer a sensible place to do this.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 3, 2022 | Reply


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