LondonNet News Headlines
26/06/03
End of the Line for Train Company
- Connex South Eastern to lose London-bound franchise

A MAJOR London train operating company is to have its franchise removed after industry watchdogs found it guilty of financial mismanagement.

Connex South Eastern, which runs trains into major London stations such as Victoria, from Kent and Sussex will be replaced within 18 months after a bidding process.

"There has been a serious loss of confidence that we have in the ability of the company to run the business in its widest sense," said Richard Bowker, chair of the Strategic Rail Authority. "We set Connex some very serious and very tough targets last year. They have not met those and we decided to take some very firm and decisive action."

Connex has long been unpopular with some of its passengers who bemoan its patchy service, though Bowker was quick to say that punctuality of trains was not the issue in this case.

Many see Connex's eventual replacement by another privately owned franchisee as missing the point. "Here is an opportunity to begin bringing train operations back into the public sector where they belong," said Bob Crowe, leader of the RMT railway workers union. In polls, a large majority of British people say they favour re-nationalising the railways.




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