East and West Midlands Railway to return to UK ownership

East and West Midlands Railway is set to be run by a new UK transport company, as Abellio UK’s parent firm, Nederlandse Spoorwegen is selling off the firm to its UK management.

The new company, Transport UK Group, will operate four of the country’s rail passenger services and more than 50 London bus routes.

After 20 years in this country, the Netherlands state-run Nederlandse Spoorwegen now wants to refocus its services to and from the Netherlands.

During this time, it has operated East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Merseyrail and West Midlands Railway and currently employs 15,000 staff.

Transport UK Group will now take over all of Abellio UK’s existing services in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Greater Anglia, Merseyrail and London,

The group will be led by managing director Dominic Booth who said: “I’ve been a railwayman all my life. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return key public transport services back into UK ownership at a time when some of our competitors look destined for overseas ownership.

“We expect the business to transfer by the end of the year, following which we will focus all our energies and expertise on continuing to deliver the best possible services for our passengers, investing in our train and bus routes, and helping to develop a future-ready, low emission UK transport network.”

Bert Groenewegen, acting CEO of Nederlandse Spoorwegen said: “After a successful 20 years in the UK passenger transport market, NS is proud to support this natural next step for Abellio UK as it transitions with our blessing into a new management-owned passenger transport group.”

Booth added: “This deal will put us in a strong position to continue the smooth operating of our current routes as well as giving us the capability to grow the business and bid for new franchises in the future.

“Beyond that, we are, and will continue to be, thought leaders in our sector determined to play a long-term and vital role in future of UK transport.”

Completion of the buyout deal is subject to formal approval from partners including the Department for Transport, Transport for London and Merseytravel as well as regulatory consent from the Office for Rail and Road.