Saturday, 26 September 2009
Friday, 25 September 2009
The CVC consortium has obtained an extension to the deadline to enable them to continue due diligence on their proposed take over of National Express Group. It is understood that the assessment of the UK business which includes National Express East Anglia (NXEA) has been successfully completed but that additional time is required to review the company's US school bus division.
Should the takeover go ahead then the NXEA business will be transferred to the Stagecoach Group.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Media reports are suggesting that CVC Capital Partners and Spain's Cosmen family are expected to ask for more time to do due diligence before they make a formal offer for National Express Group. The current deadline is set for 16:00GMT on Friday.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Delegates at the TUC's annual conference in Liverpool are to vote later today on calls to keep the East Coast mainline in public hands once it is handed back by National Express. ASLEF has tabled a motion urging ministers to abandon plans to find another buyer next year and to run it instead on a not-for-profit basis.
Of particular interest to Essex passengers is the call by the union to also have the East Anglian (NXEA) and C2C franchises handed back to public ownership. ASLEF are also urging the government to ban National Express from ever running a rail service again.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
NXEA have published an emergency timetable to cover the duration of the threatened ASLEF strike between 21st and 26th September which can be found on the NXEA website.
Monday, 14 September 2009
The proposed Cosmen family / CVC takeover of National Express group (NX) has been given a two week extension to finalise the details of the deal whilst they carry out the necessary due diligence on NX's books.
As previously recorded, such a deal is likely to see control of NX bus and rail businesses, including National Express East Anglia, transfer to Stagecoach.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
More evidence emerges that ASLEF have rejected a 4% pay rise in just over 12 months. It is not clear how many NXEA drivers have rejected the deal as ASLEF are not releasing precise details but apparently 80% of RMT and TSSA members - the other two unions involved in the previous dispute - voted to accept the offer.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
National Express is poised to accept a 500p a share offer for the Cosmen - CVC consortium having now ruled out breaking up the group by selling its UK bus and rail businesses to Stagecoach in a bid to frustrate the offer.
At a board meeting today the company voted to recommend the £765m bid although the recommendation is subject to a few final conditions it has agreed to allow the consortium to start due diligence. An announcement could be made as early as Thursday.
Previous reports suggest that the consortium will sell the NX UK bus and rail businesses, including NXEA, to Stagecoach.
Media reports are saying that ASLEF have rejected a 4% pay offer, an offer accepted by both the RMT and TSSA unions. There are also issues regarding staff relations and rostering which have led to 95% of drivers voting to strike. It is not clear at this stage whether that is 95% of all drivers or 95% of those who voted.
We should be grateful if any ASLEF members reading this would contact the ERUF on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what exactly the issues are that are prompting the current industrial action. Any responses will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
National Express East Anglia is seeking urgent talks with the Aslef train drivers' union in a bid to avert a week long strike due to start on Monday 21st September.
Aslef members yesterday rejected a deal that was put to them last month as a result of the strikes held by them and members of the RMT and TSSA. The dispute is over 'pay and conditions' and it is believed that the unions were offered 3.5% over two years. However, there appears to be little information available as to what the union's issues are regarding 'conditions'.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
The Crossrail project which will see trains running between Maidenhead in Berkshire through to Shenfield, has received a £1bn loan from the European Investment Bank. The loan to Transport for London (TfL) will go towards the £16bn overall cost of which £7.7bn has to be raised by TfL and the Greater London Authority.
Media reports suggest that National Express (NX) is working on a last ditch plan to offer its UK bus and rail franchises, which include National Express East Anglia, directly to Stagecoach in a side deal which could save it from a takeover by the Cosmen family and CVC.
The sale of UK assets to Stagecoach would allow NX to significantly reduce the size of a deeply discounted rights issue that was initially intended to raise £350m in an attempt to reduce its significant debt problem.
As mentioned previously, Stagecoach appears to have provisional agreement from the Department for Transport to take on the NXEA and C2C franchises.
One of the three trade unions in the dispute over pay and conditions with NXEA which led to the recent strike action will today confirm whether they've accepted a new wage offer.
ASLEF is expected to reveal the results of a ballot on its members as to whether they are happy with the latest pay deal being offered by NXEA. The other two unions involved in the strike action were the RMT and TSSA.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Stagecoach has agreed to pay £100m as a "change of control" payment to take over National Express' rail business. The payment to the Department For Transport is in exchange for an agreement that the government will not force Stagecoach to relinquish National Express' East Anglia and C2C franchises as "cross default" punishment for its failure to honour its £1.4bn East Coast contract.
In what seems a rather bizarre arrangement this seems a clear indicator that Stagecoach are close to taking over the National Express UK rail business, including NXEA.
Friday, 4 September 2009
Earlier today the 'Winton Train' travelled from Harwich to Liverpool Street to commemorate the 1939 evacuation of Jewish children from Prague to London by Sir Nicholas Winton. The train today made up the last leg of the journey which started earlier in the week in Prague.
The train was hauled by the recently built A1 class locomotive 'Tornado', pictured here at Harwich International, next to a much older National Express Class 360!
Thursday, 3 September 2009
As a condition of Stagecoach taking over the NXEA franchise in the event that the NX Group is taken over by the Cosmen / CVC consortium, the Department for Transport are expected to confirm in due course that the specific performance conditions that are required to be met for the franchise to be extended from 2011 to 2014 have been satisfied.
Should Stagecoach acquire the current NXEA franchise, the prospect of yet another colour scheme on our trains, currently running at four, is highly likely!
Spain's Cosmen family who, with an 18.5% holding in National Express (NX), are the biggest shareholder has upped its offer for NX with what they are saying is their final bid valuing the company at £765 million. Working in conjunction with buy-out firm CVC they are looking for a board recommendation to go ahead.
Of particular interest to local rail users is the claim by NX rival Stagecoach that in the event of a takeover, the Department for Transport would not seize the East Anglia and C2C franchises as threatened following the handing back of the loss making East Coast franchise by NX. Stagecoach has agreed an outline deal with the Cosmen / CVC consortium to take on NX's UK bus and rail businesses in the event of a takeover.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Information form the Department for Transport reveals the 18:22 from Liverpool Street to Clacton was the fourth most crowded journey across the country last autumn. The train was 265 passengers above its capacity of 524. These figures were set out in a response to a freedom of information request that also revealed that in May this year this train was regularly running at 7% above its capacity.
Regarding the item dated Saturday 29th August alleging the 40+ cancellations were as a result of staff simply not turning up for work (see below), it is now understood that these cancellations were as a consequence of issues around staff rosters. Happy to put the record straight.
To commemorate the 1939 evacuation of hundreds of Jewish children from Prague to London by Sir Nicholas Winton, the UK's newest steam locomotive 60163 Tornado will be pulling a special train from Harwich International to London Liverpool Street on Friday 4th September. Detailed timings of 'The 'Winton Train' below:
Harwich Int 09.12
Liverpool St 10.37