Profits surge for Go-Ahead’s rail business

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    Go-Ahead’s rail businesses generated an operating profit of £57 million for the company in the last financial year, with UK franchises reporting revenue growth across the board.

    Chief executive David Brown said strong performances by Southeastern and London Midland helped offset the recent difficulties which have affected the performance of the GTR and Southern network.

    Rail increased its operating profit by 36.7 per cent (£15.3 million) from the company’s 2015 results, with a 2.3 per cent margin, and paid £222.4 million back to the government in franchise premiums.

    The strong performance of the rail division was mirrored by Go-Ahead’s regional and London bus operations. Overall the company reported total revenues of £3.36 billion and a total adjusted operating profit of £157.4 million.

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced yesterday the creation of a taskforce to work with the operator and Network Rail to address the Southern network’s current challenges. This will include the creation of maintenance rapid response teams and hiring more staff at the busiest stations.

    Announcing the results, David Brown said: “The £6.5bn Thameslink Programme is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to respond to the 40 per cent passenger growth on Southern over the past five years and address the long term underinvestment in infrastructure.

    “Customers will see gradual improvements over the next two years but the capacity of the network remains restricted until the end of 2018, when the ultimate benefits of this huge investment programme will be delivered.

    “A large part of the role of the GTR franchise is to introduce three new train fleets and modernise working practices. During this period of change, Southern services have been disrupted by restricted network capacity, strike action and increased levels of absence.

    “We apologise to the people whose lives have been affected during this time. We continue to work closely with the DfT, Network Rail and other suppliers and partners to operate the best service possible while delivering the long term improvements.”

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